Facing the coronavirus-capitalist epidemic in Italy

A report of SI Cobas Italy on the coronavirus pandemic in Italy (updated version), proposal for a common initiative worldwide, and the final motion of a teleconference with several Italian working-class and left opposition organisations held on April 2.

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FACING THE CORONAVIRUS_CAPITALIST EPIDEMIC IN ITALY

FINAL MOTION OF THE APRIL 2 ASSEMBLY

By mid March 2020 Italy has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemics with a dreadful
progression of deaths. By April 10 the number of people who died being infected by coronavirus was
close to 19,000, the highest toll for a single country, even though soon to be overtaken by the U.S.,
which has more than five times its population. Within Italy, the Lombardy region (over 10 million
inhabitants) accounts for more than 10,000 official deaths due to coronavirus. These data
significantly underestimate the true death toll, as many people are dying in their homes or nursing
home for the elders, without even having been tested for coronavirus, because hospitals have no
more beds for the sick.
This high death toll is due to
1. poor crisis management by government, health care and civil protection authorities (testing
only the severely ill, not searching for and isolating their contacts in previous days),
2. aggravated by their heeding to the employers, who have been lobbying against shutting
down non-essential businesses. This is especially true for the initial outbreak of the epidemic
in the province of Bergamo, almost certainly related to the fact that the formerly textile
district of Val Seriana transferred production to China, where they have exported machinery,
and many managers and technicians used to travel to and from China on a daily basis. Some
of them contracted the coronavirus and spread it in the district (and taco the Codogno area),
but the pressure of manufacturers was so strong that Val Seriana was not declared “red
zone” and it continued working and trading for several weeks after the contagion was
known... Greed and profits vs lives: this is the true story of why Italy is the hardest hit
country up to this point.
This policy has kept millions of people crowding trains, buses, cars, factories, offices,
warehouses to go to and from work day after day, spreading the disease.
3. Past governments’ cuts in the public healthcare system made the explosion of coronavirus
infections more deadly because of insufficient availability of lung ventilators (only 5,000 in
the whole of Italy at the beginning of the epidemic) to help the weakest patients overcome
the respiratory insufficiency caused by the virus: many of them (the oldest as a rule) died
choking because there were no more ventilators available or because the ventilator was
passed to a patient with more chances to survive...
Therefore it is clear that the number of deaths was not inevitable, and that its main cause is to be
found in a policy that has put profit over lives, in the healthcare system and in society. We have
tried, with SI Cobas’s limited forces, to oppose this policy and mobilise workers to defend their and
other people’s lives, and against this capitalist government and social system.

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