The chief of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, Alberto Zangrillo, claims COVID-19 ‘clinically no longer exists’ in Italy, even in the Lombardy region. ‘Positive tests now have an infinitesimal viral load.’
The numbers are continuing to steadily drop in Italy, especially as there were 355 new cases out of 54,118 tests, while for the 56th day in a row the intensive care figures fell.
“The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago,” he told RAI television.
Italy has the third-highest death toll in the world fromCOVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, with 33,415 people dying since the outbreak came to light on February 21.
It has the sixth-highest global number of cases at 233,019.
However, new infections and fatalities have fallen steadily in May and the country is unwinding some of the most rigid lockdown restrictions introduced anywhere in Europe.
Zangrillo said some experts were too alarmist about the prospect of a second wave of infections and politicians needed to take into account the new reality.
“We’ve got to get back to being a normal country,” he said. “Someone has to take responsibility for terrorizing the country.”
The government urged caution, saying it was far too soon to claim victory.
“Pending scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus has disappeared…I would invite those who say they are sure of it not to confuse Italians,” Sandra Zampa, an under-secretary at the health ministry, said in a statement.
“We should instead invite Italians to maintain the maximum caution, maintain physical distancing, avoid large groups, to frequently wash their hands and to wear masks.”
A second doctor from northern Italy told the national ANSA news agency that he was also seeing the coronavirus weaken.
“The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today,” said Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital in the city of Genoa.
“It is clear that today the COVID-19 disease is different.”