With almost 130,000 cases, 16,000 deaths and four thousand people fighting for their lives in intensive care wards (data updated as of April 5), Italy is one of the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. A tsunami of contagions and patients overwhelmed the health care system, with the concrete risk of causing its collapse.
Faced with this unprecedented emergency, the country responded promptly, with great solidarity and with the creativity that distinguishes Italians. And it has often done so in spite of bureaucratic difficulties, thinking not only about the present, but also about the future, when the economy will have to start again.
Many factories, among those that have remained open, have intensified the production of goods, such as alcohol, which have suddenly become crucial, organizing 24-hour shifts to guarantee the necessary supplies.
Others have converted their production lines (often specialized in top-of-the-line fashion garments) in a matter of days to manufacture masks and personal protective equipment such as overalls, gloves and over-shoes, crucial for healthcare personnel to operate safely. Startups and research centres have teamed up to produce in a short time and with 3D printing the devices that are scarce in hospitals, such as lung ventilator masks obtained by modifying a snorkel mask.
A choral effort, which in some ways recalls what the populations of many countries did during the two world wars, which is making an important contribution to the containment of the coronavirus epidemic, and thanks to which a number of lives will have been saved that, once we leave all this behind us, it will never be possible to quantify.