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HEALTH

150 pneumonia cases spark health alert in north Italy

Authorities have issued a health alert after 150 cases of pneumonia were recorded in a week, mainly in towns near the northern Italian city of Brescia.

150 pneumonia cases spark health alert in north Italy
Photo: Depositphotos
Suspecting the presence of a pneumonia-causing virus in the water supply, they have taken samples from the distribution network for analysis. Results are expected in several days.
 
Autopsies will be conducted on a 69-year-old woman and an 85-year-old man who died this week to determine whether they died from pneumonia, according to local media reports.
 
Pneumonia is usually caused when bacteria, viruses or fungi infect the lungs. It can be life-threatening, especially among the elderly and those with serious health conditions.
 
Provincial health services have called on residents to take precautions, including disinfecting tap filters and shower hoses and to let hot water run for a period of time with the windows open before using it.
 
Hospital emergencies in several municipalities to the south and east of Brescia identified 121 cases of pneumonia, the health officer in the Lombardy region Giulio Galera said on television.
 
A survey of general practitioners found at least 30 other people had been affected.

HEALTH

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020

Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hardest by the pandemic, official statistics showed on Monday.

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020
A cemetery in Bergamo, one of the parts of Italy which has suffered the highest death toll during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.

For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.

Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.

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The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.

According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.

Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.

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