MILAN—The fast-rising number of coronavirus patients in Italy’s intensive-care wards is on pace to soon surpass this spring’s deadly first peak of the pandemic, raising anxiety in a country that is locking down more regions.
Although social-distancing measures have reduced the speed of the increase in hospitalizations in the past few days, Italy is still on course to have more Covid-19 patients in intensive care by the last week of November than the 4,068 reached in April, when the first wave peaked.
As of Sunday, Italy had 3,422 coronavirus cases in intensive care. The total number of patients hospitalized, at 35,469, is already higher than this spring’s peak.
Early this year, Italy was the first Western country to be hit hard by the coronavirus, and the first to impose a nationwide lockdown. The country began reopening in May and by the summer life had almost returned to normal as millions of people headed to the beaches and mountains.
Health experts had warned that the consequences of the freewheeling summer, followed in September by the return to work and school, could translate into a resurgence of infections and hospitalizations. But Italy’s recent surge has exceeded even the most pessimistic forecasts.