Mar 24, 2020 - World

Timeline: How Italy's coronavirus crisis became the world's deadliest

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. Note: The data was not updated on March 12

Italy recorded 602 deaths on Monday from the coronavirus — a staggering total that could nonetheless be some cause for hope because it's the second day of decline from Saturday's high of 793.

The big picture: Monday marks two weeks since Italy entered a nationwide lockdown, with officials warning at the time that we wouldn't get a sense of how effective the measures had been until right about now.

  • Italians are desperate for signs that a corner is being turned. So too are other countries that have been tracking their outbreaks based on how far they are behind Italy's.

Timeline:

  • Jan. 31: Italy suspends flights to China and declares a national emergency after two cases are confirmed in Rome (2 confirmed cases).
  • Feb. 20: A man in Lombardy tests positive after previously leaving the hospital without a test. He is believed to have spread the disease widely before developing severe symptoms (3 cases).
  • Feb. 23: Small towns hit by the outbreak are placed under quarantine. Carnival celebrations and some soccer matches are canceled (150 cases).
  • March 4: Schools and universities are closed (3,089 cases).
  • March 8: Several northern provinces are placed under lockdown (7,375 cases).
  • March 9: The lockdown is extended nationwide (9,172 cases).
  • March 11: All restaurants and bars are closed (12,462 cases).
  • March 22: Factories are closed and all nonessential production is halted (59,138 cases).

What they're saying:

"Italy looked at the example of China ... not as a practical warning, but as a 'science fiction movie that had nothing to do with us.' And when the virus exploded, Europe ... 'looked at us the same way we looked at China.'"
Sandra Zampa, undersecretary of Italy's Health Ministry, to the NY Times

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Coronavirus updates: Italy records deadliest day with nearly 1,000 dead

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

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Why it matters: From the beginning, the U.S. — with a population of more than 325 million — has repeatedly underestimated and reacted slowly to the coronavirus, prolonging its economic pain and multiplying its toll on Americans’ health.

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, Census Bureau; Note: The metros used are OMB's Combined Statistical Areas, which include surrounding communities; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A second wave of cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are seeing increases in confirmed coronavirus cases, and could become epicenters for the outbreak if they're not able to bring those cases under control soon.

Why it matters: Whether these cities can prevent their outbreaks from spiraling out of control will be a major test for the U.S.' ability to contain the virus.

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