An outlook and data of today COVID-19 Italian situation 🇮🇹 - What is R0?

in GEMSlast year (edited)

Hello everyone!


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Le cinque terre, Liguria, Italy

CC0 - Pixabay


Hope you are all safe and doing well. As you surely know, Italy got hit hard from COVID-19, the new Coronavirus disease. As of today, a total of 31506 people have been reported to be COVID-19 positive. I use this great tool made from the John Hopkins University to check in the latest data from around the world.


  • 345 people died today. Italy passed 2500 deaths for COVID-19.
  • 2941 people fully recovered from COVID-19
  • 2060 people are recovered in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds. In some area of Northern Italy we are at 95% capacity
  • 26062 are the people currently reported to be infected, 11108 of those are in home isolation.

This post is to inform people in the rest of Europe and US that the situation IS NOT to be taken lightly. This is not a post to create panic either. This is a post to make people understand how changing habits, right now, it's important. It's almost a week for Italy in full lockdown, and the last time I got outside for a walk was last Tuesday. We, at the current state, can't get out of homes unless for getting to work/getting food/getting medicine. This is important to reduce R0. (I'll talk about how it is to live in lockdown and some suggestion in another post).


COVID-19 isn't a simple flu. In EU and many country with older median age population, the possibility of severe symptoms is real. The high lethality in Italy is a combination of high median age (~50 years old) and the Basic Reproduction Number, also know as R0, of 1.4–3.9.

What's exactly the Basic Reproduction Number?
In Epidemiology, it expresses how many people get infected from a single cases, or the expectation of the disease reproduction. As reported from the World Health Organization, the most likely R0 is around 2-2.5. Why is this R0 so recurrent in articles?

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CC0 - Wikimedia Commons

Each healthcare system has a cap of capacity. In Italy there are 5 to 6K ICU beds (the number is changing with more and more beds being added). I can proudly say that, according to the WHO Italy is the 2nd best country in the world as of healthcare system, yet you all see the images that are all over the net. With a virus derived from animals, in a situation where we do not know much about, we need a single resource: time.

To get time, we need to flatten the curve. This should be the new hashtag or 2020 mantra. The problem of assisting people all in once, it's pretty obvious from the graph above: healthcare system burns out, people don't get proper medication, there won't be spots left for ICU. And, something to not forget, ICU are not needed JUST FOR COVID-19. Unfortunately, strokes, cancers, hearth and brain surgery are all common situations in hospitals that still need assistance.


What you should do now?

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Do not get into crowded places. (AKA social distancing, at least 1m from another person to avoid "droplets")
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Wash your hands. Again.
  5. Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  6. Wash your hands. For at least 20 second or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

All those actions will reduce R0. If R0 < 1, the virus will stop spread. This is a CO-OP game guys, we will pull this off.


Thanks for much for reading this post. Please, share it. I would really appreciate it and it will help people too. And wash your hands after doing that.


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We are doing our best to flatten the curve here in my house. We changed our grocery shopping habits so now we only go 2-3 times a month and we are home home home.

I decided to start keeping my kids home 3 days before the schools closed and don’t regret it one bit.

Only “problem” is that I did my shopping before everyone else did and if people don’t stop panic buying anytime soon I may have to go out and be in line at the supermarket with the large crowds. I will hold off as ling as possible.

At the moment I am wondering, how necessary is fresh milk anyway?

Lucky for me, some stores are opening early for high risk people and since I am 7 months pregnant I may be able to get into the stores during “special hours” soon.

Soon meaning next Wednesday- a whole week from now... good thing I stocked up!

Thanks for your comment @metzli. Here the problem is more in the city with people getting out to stores/markets and waiting in line. In small towns of 10/20K people (which are the hearth of Italy) I do not see such problems.

We got some long lasting milk for long term, shopping once per week will be the best solution. Here bakeries are bringing bread and stuff at your home, and so are doing the majority of the shops. Do they do the same over there?

congrats on your pregnancy, I really wish you the best 😃

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