On March 9, Italy placed its 60 million residents under lockdown, as the number of cases of the COVID-19 virus throughout the country continues to rise. Today, ski towns are like ghost towns as residents are mandated to stay indoors and all shops are closed with the exception of pharmacies and grocery stores.
From early February when the first cases three cases were reported, Italy went to having the highest number of cases and deaths outside of China. According to a report by Time Magazine, the number of cases rose by 50% on March 8 alone. Italy also faces an above average mortality rate of 4%. Italy reported 368 new deaths this past Saturday from the coronavirus outbreak as the country’s death toll hit 1,809 while the number of positive cases rose to 24,747 from 21,157 on Saturday.
The outbreak started in the north of the country, in Milan and quickly spread to the ski towns of the Alps. Bormio, a ski resort that regularly hosts the Men’s FIS World Cup, and did so again this past December, was one of them.
A ski town nestled near the Swiss border in the Italian Alps, Bormio is home to 5,000 year-round residents with as many as 25,000 visitors on ski weekends. By comparison, Stowe, Vermont has a similar year-round population but gets approximately 10,000 skiers on a busy weekend.
The entire town of Bormio –and the rest of Italy– is now on lock-down with residents shut indoors by government order. We caught up by phone with Maurizio Seletti, Head of Tourism Bormio, and a former specialist in crisis communications to learn more.
Listen in on our call:
And here is the how the virus began to escalate. We are now looking at close to 2,000 deaths.