Coronavirus News as it relates to Italy.
|Title:||Coronavirus News as it relates to Italy.|
|Category:||What to Expect During Your Visit|
|Author:||Michael Kovnick||Updated:||Jan 30, 2019||Views:||538|
Please read this document, and refer to it for updates regarding the Coronavirus and how it affects our trips in Italy. Mass media has a tendency to make far away things look significantly worse than they are in reality, and with the United States being in a contentious election season, this is the kind of topic candidates are likely to use to incite more panic. So we hope to allay concerns as the situation develops.
Here are some facts many may not know:
As of Feb 27 2020:
- As of now, almost all cases are in the Lombardy region (the extreme north of Italy), which is an area in which we do not operate at all. To put this in perspective, it would be like saying there is a coronavirus outbreak in Idaho while you are in Arizona.
- In the same way that flu season is in winter, and most flu cases are in colder areas, the coronavirus thrives in the cold, and has difficulty spreading in warmth and humidity. This helps explain why it is so concentrated in Northern Italy, where is it significantly colder. The cases in the central southern part of the country were people who had recently been in the area where the virus in concentrated in the north. Similarly, as we move into spring and summer with warmer weather, it is expected that, like the flu, it will fizzle out.
- While it is true that there are a few cases in other areas besides the concentration in Lombardy and Veneto, there are as many cases in Texas as there are in all of central or southern Italy. There are four times more cases in California than central or southern Italy, and 3 1/2 times more in Nebraska than central or southern Italy.
- The sudden outbreak of coronavirus in Italy was not by happenstance. It was actually the result of highly proactive measures taken by the Italian government in the days before the outbreak became world news. While other countries had been testing for coronavirus only in patients in which there was a known connection with China, Italy took steps to test virtually anyone with any kind of symptoms. In just a couple days, more than 4,000 people were tested in Italy. Compare that with Germany, which only tested about 400 people in the same period. To date, only about 1,000 people have been tested in the United States. In other words, Italy was more on top of it before it was an issue, so it naturally became aware of more cases, and can handle it more swiftly.
- The vast majority of cases in Italy are in a small cluster of more rural towns in Northern Italy, outside of Milan. All of these towns have been completely quarantined. A smaller cluster was found near Venice, and that area is also completely quarantined.
- The other cases in Italy where it has been found, has been a result of aggressive measures taken by the government to stop it in its tracks, and each of those cases had recently been in contact with the clusters in Northern Italy. These are also quarantined.
- Italy is a very advanced country when it comes to health services and the handling of illness. Italy’s government is already implementing sweeping measures to contain it to the affected areas, which are significantly more stringent that other countries. Areas in which cases have been found are being completely quarantined, major festivals have been cancelled, including Carnival in Venice and soccer games, and schools are closed.
- In areas with advanced medical care (like Italy), the death rate from the coronavirus is about the same as common influenza.
- Like influenza, the only people with extremely adverse reactions (including fatalities) have been extremely elderly people with preexisting severe respiratory issues or extreme immunodeficiency.
- A vaccine has already been developed, and is already in testing.
- There are precautions that everyone should take when traveling anyway, and it is recommended to use anti-bacterial sanitizers, wash hands frequently, and stay at least 3 feet from people that sneeze or cough nearby.
Given these current facts, Culture Discovery Vacations is currently not making any changes to its planned itineraries for the 2020 season, and all of us, including those of us outside of Italy are still fully planning on moving forward as normal.
Know that we will keep all of our guests in the loop as new information is available. If you have not gotten travel insurance yet, we strongly advise that you do so out of an abundance of caution and for peace of mind.