Covid-19 coverage The New York TimesItaly | December 2020
The New York Times paper edition with our latest story "The Lost Days that Made Bergamo a Coronavirus Tragedy". "After Covid-19 arrived in Bergamo in mid-February, the northern Italian province emerged as one of the deadliest killing fields for the virus in the Western world. A New York Times investigation found that faulty guidance and bureaucratic delays rendered the toll far worse than it had to be.
Officials confirmed that more than 3,300 people died with the virus in Bergamo, though they said the actual toll was probably double that. The town of Nembro became perhaps Italy’s hardest struck, with an 850% increase in deaths in March. So many that the local priest ordered a stop to the incessant tolling of the bells for the dead.
The question of how such a tragedy could unfold in Bergamo, a wealthy, well-educated province of just more than a million, with top-level hospitals, has remained an uneasy mystery, a blood stain that the government prefers to avoid as it points with pride to Italy’s success in flattening the first wave of infections.
The World Health Organization’s guidance on testing engendered a misplaced sense of security and helped blind doctors to the spread of the virus. But missteps and inaction after Covid-19 exploded into view aggravated the situation and cost Bergamo — and Italy — precious time when minutes mattered most.
Ultimately, after critical days filled with bureaucratic dithering, as well as spats between Rome and the regional authorities, the government decided the time to save Bergamo had passed."