translated from: Wildcat no. 105, spring 2020

A preventable massacre

Why did so many people in Italy die during the Corona crisis?

In Italy, the first infection of an Italian citizen was not detected until the 21st of February at the hospital in Codogno - but by the end of the month, the country had become the centre of the global pandemic. By the 7th of March, there were already 5,000 people who had tested positive and 233 dead.

On the 9th of March, pubs, gyms, etc. were closed and shopping in supermarkets was restricted; in addition, the government imposed a curfew ("orange zone") across the whole of Lombardy, five provinces in Piedmont and Emilia, three in Veneto and over part of the Marche - but production continued. The week between the 27th of March and the 3rd of April was then the worst: on the 27th of March 919 people died in a single day, and on the 3rd of April 4,000 people were in intensive care because of Corona. In comparison, there had been a total of 274 deaths in Germany by the 27th of March.

We wanted to know how to explain these very different developments and we started a "bi-national inquiry” during the last week of March. We sent out the first results on an Italian mailing list on the 7th of April. None of us is an expert on epidemics, so we started by looking at everything we could find: the age structure, the problem of multi-resistant germs, more intensive contacts between the generations, air pollution... obviously, all problems that play into the equation - but then we came across the criminal machinations between businessmen and politicians and the fact that the same manufacturers who, by hook or by crook, have maintained production, also run private clinics and old people's homes...

Let's start with the figures...

Seldom has mathematics been so clearly recognisable as an ‘opinion(-creating) science’ in the service of the ruling class as in recent weeks. We must question all the figures. Not even the number of deaths is a fact', because in Italy people count differently than in Germany, and even the death figures of the hospitals in Munich and Hamburg differ from the figures they report to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) [official institution].

A study conducted by the Gimbe Health Foundation in Bologna concluded that the number of infected people is about three times the official figures; if only because, initially in Italy, ridiculously few tests were carried out. The data analyst Matteo Villa has calculated that between 1.6 and 1.8 million people are infected in Italy, and in Lombardy about eight percent of the population. The Professional Association of Doctors of Bergamo assumes similar figures for their province. The Italian statistics agency ISTAT has compared the death figures in the first weeks of March 2020 with those of previous years and came up with 4,000 additional deaths in Bergamo - while the official figures for these weeks speak of ‘only’ 2,000 Corona deaths. According to an investigation by the newspaper Eco di Bergamo, up to 4,600 people could have died of Corona in Bergamo during this period. The real death toll will probably be two to three times higher than the official figures currently quoted - but we will not know for sure for a few months yet.

But despite these difficulties with the figures: there are in any case big differences in lethality (death rate of infected persons) between Italy and Germany. Italy 13.30% (181,288 infected and 24,114 dead), Spain 10.41%, Germany 3.18% (the figures are from the 20th of April). If we look at individual regions in Italy, the picture changes: Lombardy 18.48%, Emilia Romagna 11.28%, Piedmont 10%, Veneto 6.89%. We have to bear this in mind when we talk about 'Italy'.

According to the official figures, the number of people who tested positive in Italy is not unusually high. On the 5th of April we had 270 per 100,000 inhabitants who tested positively in Spain, 240 in Switzerland, 206 in Italy and 116 in Germany. And in comparison to Spain, the number of deaths in Italy in relative terms is even slightly lower. But in comparison to Germany the number of dead is so much higher that this cannot be explained by differences in the counting methods.

Multiresistant germs

Italy has the highest death rate from multi-resistant germs in Europe, estimated at 10,000 people per year out of a total of 33,000 in Europe.

This is partly due to hygiene problems in medical institutions, but is also strongly linked to excessive use of broad-spectrum antibiotics. If you are under great pressure at work not to take sick leave and on top of that have little access to a family doctor and, thirdly, if it's very easy to get antibiotics at the pharmacy, then you just pop them. And if it worked, you might take the rest of the pack next time you have a similar illness... And don't forget: in the worst affected areas of northern Italy there is huge cattle breeding industry (pigs and cows), which also uses antibiotics excessively!

In Italy there are significantly higher levels of resistance to antibiotics. In connection with COVID-19 (which is a viral disease), this can be very dangerous because often a bacterial infection is superimposed on the viral disease - and these infections are difficult to treat in Italy because of the bacteria's high resistance.

In Northern Italy the virus spread undetected for too long

We have not found any evidence, but we think it is very likely that the virus was already spreading in Italy in December. The first known patient was diagnosed in Wuhan on 17th of November. Italy has very strong links with China. Broken down by nationality, the Chinese are the third largest immigrant group in Veneto, and tens of thousands of Italians work in China too. There is a large flow of tourists from China to northern Italy (Venice and Milan), but there are also many Italian tourists in China. It is very unlikely that the virus did not spread within these back and forth of people - e.g. by infected people without symptoms - much earlier than the 21st of February. By the time Italy stopped direct flights to and from China, it was definitely too late (on top of that, this ban was circumvented en masse!)

In any case, family doctors in the Bergamo area report that at the end of December they treated many cases of abnormal pneumonia amongst people aged around 40. Others say that if these had been Corona cases, more cases would have been found in January.

The Champions League match between Atalanta Bergamo and Valencia on the 19th of February is said to have played a role in the spread of the virus. It was played at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, with 44,000 fans from Bergamo and Valencia celebrating together. Afterwards, one third of the Valencia team and people in their social environment tested positive. A sports journalist who had reported on the game was "patient zero" in Spain. In retrospect, doctors have called the match a "biological bomb", in Italy they call it "match zero" - but it can only explain a small part of what happened in Italy.

The decentralized factory

More than half of all employees in northern Italy commute between 12 and 40 kilometres a day. And since they all have to do this at the same time, one and a half to two hours' commute to work each day is the norm. Since the 1970s, commuting has expanded considerably with the decentralisation of production and the ever more scattered residential areas. Both blue-collar and white-collar workers have an increasingly long way to work.

The excessive land-grab has led to a wide spread concreting over of large areas with roads and buildings, especially in Veneto and Lombardy. In addition, there is an enormous proportion of private cars; public transport only takes you to the centre of the provincial capital where the administrative buildings and the grammar schools are located - everything else is done with your own car. You drive to work by car, eat lunch in crowded places, buy food on the way, take the children to school, pick them up again, have a break after work, mix with business activities of the self-employed and craftsmen... all this has certainly contributed to the spread of the virus. Bars and restaurants did not close until the 12th of March, but even after curfew, traffic barely slowed down. When social distancing was imposed in Germany and people were sent on short-time work, traffic decreased significantly.

The production structure based on small and medium-sized enterprises, the so-called 'fabbrica diffusa', has contributed most to fuelling the epidemic. This can also be seen by the fact that only the Marche is affected in the south - a region with a large number of small enterprises. The same applies to the high number of infected people in the provinces of Rimini (bordering Emilia Romagna) and Pesaro-Urbino (bordering the Marche) along the Adriatic Sea.

This is linked to another hypothesis based on an investigation of truck traffic. From southern Lombardy, close to Emilia and Piedmont, goods are transported in all directions. In provinces such as Piacenza, Cremona, Lodi and Pavia there are many transport hubs, including Amazon warehouses, and a very high number of infected people. The characteristics of the Italian logistics sector (a lot of manual labour, a high percentage of immigrants, including many illegal immigrants) make it plausible that human-to-human transmission has also occurred along the truck routes.

Air Pollution

Air pollution is closely linked to the production structure. Chinese cities, where the virus apparently came from, are also known for their high levels of air pollution, and the connection to colds is well known - for example, it is known as the "Beijing cough". The Po Valley is often compared with China in this respect, because nowhere else in Europe are there so many deaths due to air pollution as here. The Po Valley has one of the highest concentrations of nitrogen in Europe. Nitrogen dioxide damages the respiratory tract and consequently the cardiovascular system. The situation in Veneto is worse than in Paris or London! And it was much worse 15 years ago - we are now seeing the consequences.

If we superimpose two maps, one showing the places where the legal limits for particulate matter were exceeded in the Po Valley between the 10th and 29th February, and the second showing those infected up to the 3rd of March - we have two practically identical maps. This cannot be fully explained yet, but it is most likely related to the fact that particulate matter can transport the virus.

In addition to the air pollution in the Po Valley, there is soil and water pollution (related to the industrial production of pigs and cattle, especially in Lombardy and Emilia.) All of this affects the health of the inhabitants, especially their respiratory system. Already decades ago, people spoke with black humour about the fact that in the Po Valley, human lungs are there to clean the air.

The Italian family

In recent decades, the family in Italy has gradually taken over functions of the welfare state (again). Very high youth unemployment and severe cuts in social benefits (while the elderly still have relatively high pensions) have led to the resurgence of the multi-generational family. More and more often, grandparents are responsible for preparing food or have to look after the grandchildren while their parents work - or are ill. This widespread situation was abruptly interrupted by the curfew - which came too late, however, to prevent the infection of the elderly.

Age and pre-existing medical conditions

The average age of the population in Italy and Germany is about the same; they are the European countries with the highest percentage of people over 65, so why were those people who were positively tested in Italy in March on average 18 years older than those in Germany (63 years compared to 48)? This is probably due to the many skiing holidaymakers who were infected in Ischgl. These people were relatively young and fit - and recovered from the illness relatively quickly; in Italy they would have infected their parents! In both countries, at any rate, the over-80s die disproportionately from COVID-19.

It is often said that 99% of the dead had previous illnesses. But "a person with pre-existing medical conditions" is often just another term for "older workers/proletarians". Just a figure: a middle-aged man 'with low qualifications' has an eight times higher risk of taking early retirement due to cardiovascular disease than a man of the same age 'with high professional qualifications'. The virus attacks very selectively, which can also be seen in the USA, where black people are seven times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white people. Again, it is a combination of social inequality (i.e. 'pre-existing conditions' due to poverty, unhealthy work, lack of health insurance) and then being forced to continue working while being sick! The same in the UK, where non-white immigrants are much more affected by the virus. (See also the letter from China: for the rich, "Corona" meant that they had free roads where they could finally get their SUVs on the road!1 Or France, where the rich went to their chalets in the countryside, while the people in the banlieues are crammed together).

According to ISTAT, around four million Italians do not have access to screening or medical treatment every year for financial reasons. Thus, there will be many unrecognised 'pre-existing conditions'.

Dismantling of the health system

In the 1990s, following the Maastricht agreement, the deregulation and privatisation of the Italian healthcare system began. At the end of the 1990s, Romano Prodi's 'centre-left' government also initiated a regionalisation of the sector. Through privatisation and regionalisation, your income and the regional economic power determine your access to healthcare. That is why Lombardy is considered one of the best - but it is also where privatisation has made the most progress. Half of all hospital beds are in private clinics; and these have concentrated on elective operations and rehabilitation and are not equipped for emergencies.

In recent years, healthcare expenditure in the Federal Republic of Germany accounted for about eleven% of GDP, in Italy for about nine%.2 The problem, however, is that Italian GDP has not grown!

In 2019 Italy had a health budget of 118 billion euros, eight billion more than in 2009, and this money will be distributed more or less equally between the 20 regions. (Calabria receives 3.3 billion and Sicily 9.3 billion euros per year), but the real situation on the ground is by no means the same! It depends on what you do with the money. Given inflation (in the health sector), an eight billion increase is not much, and most of the money went to new large hospitals, often financed by public-private partnerships, and to private clinics. Many small hospitals have been closed, personnel costs have not increased since the crisis in 2008, there has been a recruitment freeze for ten years (the average age of nursing staff is correspondingly high at over 50), and even expenditure on pharmaceuticals has been reduced by a third over the same period.

All this is reasonably well-known. However, while everyone was staring at the huge difference between intensive care beds (5,100 in Italy, 28,000 in Germany), another fact was almost ignored: The overall healthcare system has been dismantled. In Lombardy, the number of GPs has been systematically reduced for years and they have had practically no medical function for five years (they simply issue prescriptions or refer you to a specialist or hospital). Lombardy has pushed most strongly in this direction. There is the famous sentence that Giancarlo Giorgetti, a close confidant of Salvini, said during a press conference in August 2019: "In the next few years we will abolish another 45,000 family doctors - but who still goes to the family doctor?” Giorgetti was then Secretary of State in the Conte-Salvini government.

Against this background, the epidemic literally bulldozed over the hospitals in Lombardy between the end of February and the beginning of March. In the provinces of Bergamo and Brescia, it exploded because Orio al Serio airport is located there and because no quarantine was imposed under pressure from the entrepreneurs. We will go into this in more detail below. First of all, however, a few other points need to be mentioned.

The emergency rooms

Due to the small number of GPs, many people have to go directly to hospital emergency rooms when they have complaints, where up to 100 people (patients and relatives) crowd into one room for hours and wait their turn. In some areas, the alternative is to go to a group practice where several doctors share medical assistants and waiting rooms, where crowds of people are also crammed together. Here, by the way, we find a first explanation for the different figures in the regions of the Po Valley (Veneto 6, Piedmont 10, Lombardy 18.48% lethality): the region that has most systematically abolished the family doctor system is Lombardy!

Massacre among health workers

In Italy, very few tests were carried out at the beginning, and there was a lack of test kits and infrastructure in the area. All patients were either sent to hospital - or isolated at home to die. As a result, hospitals were very quickly overstretched and lacked protective equipment to a frightening extent. To this day, people there often have to work without adequate protection, because the shortage is compounded by an incredibly complicated centralised bureaucracy that is responsible for supplying the hospitals. And, of course, the cuts made in recent years are also making themselves felt. Workers in the hospitals and, even more so, in the elderly people's care homes are being sent to the slaughterhouse. There is little protective equipment and, in some cases, 12-hour shifts, also because they have to cover for their colleagues who are ill or in quarantine, and who have only been partially replaced with new hires. These new workers were only hired after the epidemic had been allowed to spread for a month.

Thus, it is the hospital employees, family doctors, geriatric nurses and ambulance drivers who are most infected by the epidemic. They account for 10% of all those infected (i.e. tested positive), i.e. more than 17,000 people. To date, 130 doctors, 30 nurses and dozens of ambulance drivers have already died of the disease (data from 20 April). In Germany, healthcare workers make up 5% of all infected persons. In Italy, hospital staff themselves became the worst sources of infection. Two nurses apparently killed themselves because of it.

Much has been reported about the shortage of intensive care beds (which has now been increased to about 8,000). But in Italy, 14% of those who tested positive were taken to intensive care! In the overcrowded hospitals of Bergamo (as in New York and Rosenheim) only half of the patients survived the invasive ventilation for more than five days.

Perhaps the strategic shortage of intensive care beds also served as an excuse for the political class, as proof that we had ‘done everything within their limited means’. Many people have died under artificial respiration; now we are beginning to understand that many did not have pneumonia, but other problems with their lungs plus vascular inflammation; in this case, forced oxygenation does not help at all.

You don't fight an epidemic in a hospital, but in the territory.

You have to fight the pandemic on a large geographical scale. Above all this includes the public's responsible behaviour and strict hygiene measures. Secondly, systematic testing must be used to find those infected without symptoms (they account for about 50% of all cases).3 People who have been in contact with infected people must also be tested. All infected people must be helped. In Padua, for example, a kind of telephone switchboard was staffed with 20 people who call each person isolated at home twice a day and offer help. This is essential to relieve the clinics.

By the 23rd of April, 1.58 million tests had been carried out in Italy and one million people tested (more than 66,000 a day more recently). In Germany about twice as many people have been tested so far (the number of tests is not centrally recorded here). Tests are very important - especially to protect the staff in hospitals, who would otherwise get infected by the asymptomatic patients who come to the hospital for other problems. But given the susceptibility of the tests to errors, they are probably similar to intensive care beds in that ultimately, they only serve as the hope for a technological solution to the epidemic. In reality, capacity and the “large mass-scale measures [Staffelung]“ are crucial. GPs play a central role; they have to care for people with mild symptoms by telephone, visit them at home or treat them in their own practice (but for this they need protective equipment!). Because if the symptoms get worse, people must be taken to hospital immediately, otherwise they will arrive there in far too bad a condition.

Alzano Lombardo and Nembro: centres of the outbreak

On the 21st of February Codogno (Lombardy) and Vò Euganeo (Veneto) were declared "red zones", i.e. the towns were sealed off. On the 8th of March these measures were lifted; in Codogno, because it now belonged to the orange zone of the whole of Lombardy; in Vò, because the matter was now over. Codogno, with 16,000 inhabitants, is a large centre for pig and cattle breeding, Vò is a farming village with 3,300 inhabitants, in the surrounding hills there are vineyards and many bars and restaurants for tourists. After two weeks of isolation the disease was under control in both villages.

The situation is quite different in the two Lombard towns of Nembro (11,500 inhabitants) and Alzano (13,600). Although both had become large outbreaks of disease, the government did not declare them red zones in its decree of the 8th of March, even though everything was already in place and the Italian Health Institute had declared itself in favour of them because of the more than 100 people infected - twice as many as in Bergamo.

They now fell into the orange zone, which was imposed on the whole of Lombardy and the neighbouring provinces. Immediately after the publication of the government decree, the regional president issued a decree not to impose any special measures for Alzano and Nembro, but explicitly authorising the transfer of infected persons with a less severe course of the disease from hospitals to retirement homes. In doing so, he encouraged the spread of the disease and contributed to many deaths (ten times as many people died in the two municipalities than in the same period last year).

"Bergamo keeps working!”

The two municipalities are located a few kilometres from Bergamo, at the entrance to the Seriana Valley, a historic site of the textile industry; today most of the enterprises are Italian-Chinese joint ventures. Chinese technicians and subcontractors constantly travel back and forth between China and Bergamo, using Orio al Serio airport - some of them are even weekly commuters. The virus probably came to Italy via this traffic in December or January. When the Italian government banned direct flights to China, the companies organised connecting flights via Moscow or Bangkok - people entered the country without any controls and without being registered. "Everyone knew this," says Francesco Macario, the CGIL trade unionist in charge.

In this area factories stand side by side to each other. These include companies with sales in the billions such as Tenaris, ABB, Dalmine, Persico (Persico took over the insolvent Bielomatik in Neuffen in mid-February), more than 40,000 people work in 376 companies with 120 to 800 employees. The local employers' association has tirelessly advocated for the continuation of production - naturally in compliance with hygiene measures. On the 28th of February, the Confindustria industrialists' association launched a commercial "Bergamo non si ferma" ("Bergamo keeps working!”) - for which they apologised for only five weeks later: on the 6th of April, when 2,480 people had already died in Bergamo. On the 23rd of April, in the province of Bergamo, 10,946 people were infected and 2,892 had died.

In Lombardy - and above all in the province of Bergamo - the bosses enforced their goals with the help of crazy regional politicians (PD mayors of Bergamo) at the moment when the virus spread most rapidly. They kept the companies open at all costs. One of the biggest metal factories could not offer its workers masks and other protective equipment - but they gave them glass cleaner to disinfect their hands!

It was only on the 22nd of March - after an 18-hour video conference between various company bosses, the state and trade unions - that the decision was taken to shut down "non-essential" production. On the same day, however, the companies withdrew part of the compromise. Only now did the unions call for a strike on the 25th of March.

To cut a long story short, the fact is that the employers' association managed to keep production going almost until the end of March. According to mobile phone monitoring, more than 60% of people were still on the road on the 24th of March - despite school closures and people working from home. Only with the strike on the 25th of March and a stricter definition of ‘essential’ did the movement of people decline by 40%. The continuation of production has directly killed people.

According to a survey carried out by the Italian pension fund INPS at the end of April, in provinces where a particularly large amount of ‘essential production’ is concentrated (such as Cremona), more than 25% more people were infected every day after the 22nd of March than in areas where there is little of it.4

The situation was really criminal in Alzano Lombardo and Nembro. Apart from the particular pressure from the industrialists, there was a disaster at the hospital in Alzano. When the first patients tested positive, they were transferred to the central Covid hospital, but the rest of the local population just kept working and spreading the virus. Because the town had not been sealed off, the epidemic was able to spread and many died because of it. In March, Nembro was the municipality in Italy with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 per inhabitant, with 123 people dying - 750% more than in the same month last year. Nembro is also the headquarters of Persico, whose owner was one of those who most resisted the proclamation of the red zone. In neighbouring Alzano, 101 people died in March (9 in March 2019).

Codogno and Vò were isolated, here the spread of the disease could be stopped; the industrial periphery of Bergamo was not isolated and fell into an epidemic dynamic that overwhelmed the entire province's health system. The whole process shows how intolerable the 'Lombard production conditions' are.

Industrial bosses and the privatisation of the health system

The industrialists who were interested in the continuation of production are in some cases the same people who invested in private clinics, like the Rocca brothers (who have twice been awarded the title of "Scrooge Duck of the Stock Exchange"; they are crazy, the Romans!) When the public hospitals were overburdened, they offered to take thousands of Corona infected people there and to their sister companies - of course for a reasonable ‘compensation’. Lombardy, more than any other region, has pushed through the commercialisation of health - and is now the victim of an extended system of corruption, which was directed for 18 years (from 1995 to 2013) by Roberto Formigoni, who is part of the leadership clique of Comunione e Liberazione5. He is a member of Berlusconi's party, which appointed him President of Lombardy. And he has always had the support of the Lega, which has provided the regional government since 2013. Some legal cases for corruption (in the supply of equipment to hospitals and for dumping asbestos) and for having placed representatives of Comunione e Liberazione at all possible power centres led to a sentence of five years and ten months in prison - after a few months he was released under house arrest because he is over 70. His successor, Roberto Maroni of the Lega, launched another ‘health reform’ in 2017, cutting public investment in the health system even further and replacing the family doctor with the ‘manager’.

It is people like this who run the hospitals and the elderly care homes.

Everything begins in the Trivulzio

The nursing homes have played a major role in the spread of the virus by their considerable number in the two regions alone: 677 in Lombardy and 521 in Veneto, which together make up a quarter of all nursing homes in Italy. As Lombardy has more than twice as many inhabitants, Veneto has the highest number of nursing homes relative to the population.

On the 8th of March, when the regional government of Lombardy announced that the less critically infected people should be transferred to elderly care homes which have the possibility of setting up isolation wards, the organisation of the transfer was entrusted to the traditional Milanese nursing home Pio Albergo Trivulzio. The Trivulzio is still known to the elderly because of the "Mani pulite" campaign that was launched in February 1992 that resulted in an arrest warrant for the manager at the time.6 Of the elderly care homes that had agreed to participate, the Trivulzio selected 15, some of which did not meet the requirements at all - because they had staff shortages due to Covid-19 infections (!) or no protective equipment such as masks and insulating gowns. Since they were private nursing homes, the government had promised them 150 euros per day and patient. In a later decree, the regional government announced that infected people from nursing homes would only be admitted to intensive care units if they were under 75. However, they kindly arranged for appropriate medication to be administered so that the old people could at least die without pain.

The public prosecutor's office is now investigating these dodgy going-ons in Lombardy, after several relatives of victims and nursing home employees have themselves filed criminal charges. The Trivulzio is again at the centre of the investigations. In Lombardy, 1,130 of 5,886 residents of nursing homes died between the 20th of February and the 10th of April, a death rate of 19.2 percent. During the same period, 341 nursing home residents died in the province of Pavia: 30 out of 120 in Vigevano, 26 out of 67 in Casselnovo, and 22 out of 85 in Groppello.

On the 16th of April, the Regional President of Lombardy declared that hospital management were to blame for the spread of the disease and the deaths, that they had been clumsy - and not him, who had expressly ordered that infected patients be transferred to homes inhabited by frail and needy people!

In Veneto, the mortality rate in nursing homes was 15.7% in mid-April, about half the national average. In addition, almost 1,000 employees were infected due to inadequate protective measures. Nevertheless, the situation is not even close to that of Lombardy.

By the third week of April, the public prosecutor's offices had begun investigations into 600 cases, a fifth of the nursing homes investigated were infringing on legal regulations, and 15 were closed down immediately.

Further police investigations into wilful homicide are underway, both in hospitals and in nursing homes. Clinic records have been seized.

In view of the lack of clarity around the reasons for the patient transfers and the results of treatments in the intensive care units in Lombardy, the daily general infection and death rate figures announced by the head of the civil defence up to the 19th of April should be doubted.

Contamination of hospitals has also occurred in Germany. A particularly blatant case is the largest clinic in the state of Brandenburg, Ernst von Bergmann in Potsdam. There are also serious cases in nursing homes: in Wolfsburg 22 residents died within a short time, in Würzburg also 22 people died, all of them were over 80. In old people's homes the rate of infected nurses is also much higher due to lack of protective equipment and tests. Only recently have quarantine stations been set up in nursing homes.

Another problem in Germany is the fact that private carers from Eastern Europe, especially Poland, are often employed illegally. Many of them can no longer come to work because the borders are closed. This touches on another problem: 80% of health personnel are concentrated in (’developed’) regions which account for only half of the world’s population. In Germany, private nurses alone account for 300,000 employees.

25th of April 2020

[German version]


[1] See letter from China: did china buy time for the west?

[2] The annual per-capita health expenditure in Germany in 2019 was just under 6,000 Euros, in Italy 3,428 Euros and in Spain 3,323 Euros. (In the USA more than 10,000, in China 688 Euros - the sum does not necessarily say anything about quality).

[3] A study recently published in Science by Columbia University comes to the following figures for Wuhan: 86 percent of all infected persons were not detected. These undetected cases have led to two thirds of all infections.

[4] Coronavirus, studio dell'Inps: "Nelle province con più occupati nei settori essenziali c'è stato ogni giorno un 25% di contagi in più", il Fatto Quotidiano, 24.04.2020

[5] Comunione e Liberazione: (Community and Liberation): influential anti-communist right-wing movement within the Catholic Church with its own economic association (Compagnia delle Opere) and a political wing in Berlusconi's PdL

[6] See the historical preface to "tangentopoli" (bribery affair) in our article Italy: The third wave

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