SARS-CoV-2 was already circulating in Milan at the COVID-19 outbreak start on February 2020, with only 1 in 20 infected individuals being symptomatic and diagnosed. Social distancing may have been more effective in reducing new infections in younger individuals, and by the end of April 4.4-10.8% of healthy asymptomatic adults had evidence of seroconversion. Asymptomatic infection may affect lipid profile and be associated with higher circulating lymphocytes and eosinophils.
The current COVID-19 outbreak in Italy has predominantly affected older people, particularly those over 75-year-old. Older people are unquestionably a frail segment of the population because of several comorbidities, they take more medications than younger people and are more frequently disabled. The Italian Government recommended a strict lockdown to protect them and guaranteed additional social services, like free home delivery of medications and grocery shopping for people over 65 years old. Despite such measures, death rates among older people are dramatic. As of 22 nd April 2020, official data by the Italian Ministry of Health show that 173,730 were COVID-19 + according to laboratory tests; the highest number of deaths and the highest Case Fatality Rate (CFR) were found among those older than 60 years old (95%, CFR 89.5%).
This paper investigates the correlation between the high level of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lethality and the atmospheric pollution in Northern Italy. Indeed, Lombardy and Emilia Romagna are Italian regions with both the highest level of virus lethality in the world and one of Europe’s most polluted area.