Italy’s northern regions struggle with a surge in COVID-19 cases as third wave hits

Doctors in northern Italy say they’re at war for a third time, with the latest wave of infections inundating intensive care units with patients.

Highly contagious variants are to blame for the latest spike, with over 20,000 new cases and 500 deaths reported on Tuesday.

A hospital in the town of Chiari reflects the crisis across the Lombardy region, one year after it was the epicenter of Italy’s first COVID-19 outbreak.

With 115 COVID-19 patients for 111 beds, it’s beyond capacity and many needing treatment have to be diverted.Claudio Gentilini, a doctor at the hospital, says the situation is concerning.

He said, “With the UK variant this time, Brescia is the worst-affected area and the average age is lower in respect to the previous waves, it has dropped to 45 to 50 years.”

In response, schools, bars and restaurants closed in the entire country until at least after Easter. The government has pledged to accelerate the country’s vaccination campaign.

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