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After a horrific month with more than 13,000 coronavirus deaths, Italy is hoping its outbreak has finally peaked.
Infections have fallen to a rate four times lower than they were two weeks ago. Fatalities appear to be falling, too. On Wednesday, 727 deaths were recorded, down from 837 the previous day.
The majority of deaths have taken place in the northern Lombardy region, and there’s still anxiety the virus could take hold in the country’s south.
Italy has been under a state of lockdown since early March, with the majority of its 60 million residents confined to their homes for all but essential reasons. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended the lockdown until Easter Sunday on April 12, and Italians have resigned themselves to their period of confinement being lengthened until the virus is fully under control.
Why Italy has been hit so hard still isn’t clear. But Italy does have an aging population and a culture where three generations of one family often live in the same home.