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With heavy hearts, Italians mark year of COVID-19 outbreak

Virus Outbreak Italy Anniversary
Posted at 9:06 AM, Feb 21, 2021

CODOGNO, Italy — Italians are marking one year since their country experienced its first known COVID-19 death.

With church services and wreath-laying ceremonies on Sunday, residents paid tribute to the dead, including in Italy's small northern towns that were so hard-hit by the pandemic.

Italy, with some 95,500 confirmed deaths from the virus, has Europe's second-highest pandemic toll after Britain.

While the first wave of infections largely engulfed Lombardy and other northern Italian regions, a second surge starting in the fall of 2020 has raced throughout the country.

In the northeastern town of Vo, which registered Italy's first known coronavirus death on Feb. 21, 2020, officials unveiled a memorial plaque on Sunday.

Virus Outbreak Italy Anniversary
A man plays an accordion in Codogno, northern Italy, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. The first case of locally spread COVID-19 in Europe was found in the small town of Codogno, Italy one year ago on February 21st, 2020. The next day the area became a red zone, locked down and cutoff from the rest of Italy with soldiers standing at roadblocks keeping anyone from entering of leaving. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.