How did Italy become the new ground zero of the coronavirus?

Much is being made of the fact that Italy — an advanced European nation — has become the hot zone of coronavirus impact.  The implication is that if a first-world country with the equivalent of "Medicare for All" could succumb to the pandemic, it should be really serious for the USA.  Right?

Wrong!  Despite all of the coverage and hype about Italy and COVID-19, some important information about the epidemiology or cause of the virus's impact on Italy is being overlooked or ignored by the mainstream media.  As the Times of India reported on March 19 (emphasis added):

If there is one country that has suffered the most due to COVID-19 beyond China, it has to be the European country of Italy. But what is the connection between Italy and the novel coronavirus considering the deadly virus is reported to have originated from China? The answer is fashionably simple. The northern part of Italy has been a traditionally prosperous region due to the flourishing fashion and garment industry. Most of the big global brands like Gucci and Prada have their base in this region.

With China offering one of the cheapest manufacturing options in the world, it came as little surprise that most of these fashion brands were working with China. A large number of these Italian fashion and garment houses had outsourced their manufacturing to Chinese labour, specifically in Wuhan. Italy also has direct flights from Wuhan and reports suggest over 100,000 Chinese citizens were working in Italian factories. Chinese made a slow and steady move into Italy and many Italian fashion firms are now owned by them as well. As per a news report, there are more than 300,000 Chinese and over 90% of them work in the Italian garment industry. As per reports, there are thousands of small companies that are active in exports. This region is also very interconnected as well.

Additionally, northern Italy, it turns out, is the equivalent of a Petri dish for the spread to the general population of a virus like COVID-19 — because of the region's unusual demographic makeup.  From the Times of India again:

Nearly 60% of the population [of Northern Italy] is aged 40 and over, of which about 23% is over 65 years of age. This puts nearly one-fourth of the population at grave risk.

Putting the importance of Italy into further perspective, without examining the true cause of the pandemic there, Hollie McKay, in an article on March 18 at Fox News, titled "Worse than war: How coronavirus in Italy proliferated to a breaking point," wrote:

Outside of China, [Italy] the illustrious nation of 60.5 million has become the focal point of the outbreak, with the second-highest number of infections. As of Wednesday afternoon, almost 14,500 people were documented to have contracted the disease and almost 3,000 people have already died. The past 24 hours have brought about the country's highest single-day spike in deaths, claiming the lives of over 475 people. More than 2,000 people are hospitalized and in intensive care[.] ...

A new report published on the Open Science Framework by researchers at the University of Oxford over the weekend affirmed that Italy bestows one of the oldest populations globally — 23.3 percent of citizens are over the age of 65 — and many households are multigenerational, either still living under the same roof or close by with frequent large family interactions.

"It is becoming clear that the pandemic's progression and impact may be strongly related to the demographic composition of the population," the research paper states. "Specifically, the population age structure." . . .

Nonetheless, Italy was one of the first nations to quickly impose a travel ban on all flights from China after detecting its first case of the novel virus on January 29, 2020. The following day, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared a state of emergency for a minimum period of six months.

Meanwhile, President Trump — after his Jan. 31 executive order restricting travelers from mainland China entering the U.S. — two days after the Italian prime minister issued the same order for his country — was branded a "racist" and "xenophobe" by leftist critics and leading Democrats.  Clearly, POTUS 45 was ahead of the curve on this issue.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter's website is http://peter.media.  His new YouTube channel is here.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

Much is being made of the fact that Italy — an advanced European nation — has become the hot zone of coronavirus impact.  The implication is that if a first-world country with the equivalent of "Medicare for All" could succumb to the pandemic, it should be really serious for the USA.  Right?

Wrong!  Despite all of the coverage and hype about Italy and COVID-19, some important information about the epidemiology or cause of the virus's impact on Italy is being overlooked or ignored by the mainstream media.  As the Times of India reported on March 19 (emphasis added):

If there is one country that has suffered the most due to COVID-19 beyond China, it has to be the European country of Italy. But what is the connection between Italy and the novel coronavirus considering the deadly virus is reported to have originated from China? The answer is fashionably simple. The northern part of Italy has been a traditionally prosperous region due to the flourishing fashion and garment industry. Most of the big global brands like Gucci and Prada have their base in this region.

With China offering one of the cheapest manufacturing options in the world, it came as little surprise that most of these fashion brands were working with China. A large number of these Italian fashion and garment houses had outsourced their manufacturing to Chinese labour, specifically in Wuhan. Italy also has direct flights from Wuhan and reports suggest over 100,000 Chinese citizens were working in Italian factories. Chinese made a slow and steady move into Italy and many Italian fashion firms are now owned by them as well. As per a news report, there are more than 300,000 Chinese and over 90% of them work in the Italian garment industry. As per reports, there are thousands of small companies that are active in exports. This region is also very interconnected as well.

Additionally, northern Italy, it turns out, is the equivalent of a Petri dish for the spread to the general population of a virus like COVID-19 — because of the region's unusual demographic makeup.  From the Times of India again:

Nearly 60% of the population [of Northern Italy] is aged 40 and over, of which about 23% is over 65 years of age. This puts nearly one-fourth of the population at grave risk.

Putting the importance of Italy into further perspective, without examining the true cause of the pandemic there, Hollie McKay, in an article on March 18 at Fox News, titled "Worse than war: How coronavirus in Italy proliferated to a breaking point," wrote:

Outside of China, [Italy] the illustrious nation of 60.5 million has become the focal point of the outbreak, with the second-highest number of infections. As of Wednesday afternoon, almost 14,500 people were documented to have contracted the disease and almost 3,000 people have already died. The past 24 hours have brought about the country's highest single-day spike in deaths, claiming the lives of over 475 people. More than 2,000 people are hospitalized and in intensive care[.] ...

A new report published on the Open Science Framework by researchers at the University of Oxford over the weekend affirmed that Italy bestows one of the oldest populations globally — 23.3 percent of citizens are over the age of 65 — and many households are multigenerational, either still living under the same roof or close by with frequent large family interactions.

"It is becoming clear that the pandemic's progression and impact may be strongly related to the demographic composition of the population," the research paper states. "Specifically, the population age structure." . . .

Nonetheless, Italy was one of the first nations to quickly impose a travel ban on all flights from China after detecting its first case of the novel virus on January 29, 2020. The following day, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared a state of emergency for a minimum period of six months.

Meanwhile, President Trump — after his Jan. 31 executive order restricting travelers from mainland China entering the U.S. — two days after the Italian prime minister issued the same order for his country — was branded a "racist" and "xenophobe" by leftist critics and leading Democrats.  Clearly, POTUS 45 was ahead of the curve on this issue.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who writes about politics, media, popular culture, and health care for American Thinker and other publications.  Peter's website is http://peter.media.  His new YouTube channel is here.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.