At a cemetery in Nembro, a village which until a few weeks ago was the epicentre of the pandemic in Italy, graves are only marked with a wooden cross. A sign in placed on the cross with the name, a small photo and the birth and death dates of the deceased person…..all buried during March and April.
The death rate at this village in Bergamo province increased from a daily 16 as it was in the previous year to 116 during the first 21 days in March.
Some 3,000 persons died in Bergamo since the emergence of the pandemic. Three of them were relatives of Livio Giovanelli who lost two uncles and a cousin. “This left me in total panic because it was too suddenly and we could do nothing”.
Despite that almost two months passed since his relatives’ death, Livio could visit their graves to lay wreaths last week after the removal of some restrictions.
Papa Giovanni emergency section head, Roberto Cosentini, said that initially they couldn’t cope with patients, but gradually adapted to the situation. “The problem is our emotions, we are tired with the situation. I fear that another wave will have a greater impact than the first, as far as mental health is concerned”.
Bergamo mayor, Giorgio Gori, said that a new push is needed to rebuilt the region as happened after the second world war. As this province was the symbol of the pandemic, he says that now it needs to be the symbol of hope and revival.
This was also reflected in the candidature of Bergamo and Brescia to have the title of Italian cities of Culture with the hope that the two Lombardy cities will provide the necessary stimulus for their communities who experienced hard times.