Months after Italy’s lockdown against the coronavirus ended, Enrica Grazioli still sanitizes everything that comes into her Milan apartment, wears face masks diligently and limits interactions between her sons and their grandparents.
Ms. Grazioli, a self-proclaimed social butterfly who loves to cook for guests, still hasn’t had friends over for dinner since the virus struck. “Am I overdoing it?” says Ms. Grazioli. “Maybe, but we had a national tragedy of epic proportions and you don’t quickly forget something like that.”
Italy, the first nation outside Asia to suffer a major coronavirus outbreak, had one of the world’s worst death tolls this spring. Overflowing hospitals in parts of northern Italy had to choose which patients got the last intensive-care beds. The Italian army drove truckloads of victims out of the city of Bergamo, which couldn’t cope with the dead.
That shocking experience helps explain why Italy is so far having greater success than many other European countries in limiting the pandemic’s second wave.
Infections in Europe are rebounding partly because millions of people have grown tired of social-distancing rules, mask-wearing and hand-sanitizing, and have relaxed their behavior, health experts said. The public’s fatigue and yearning to get back to normal life are two of the greatest challenges facing governments as they try to keep a lid on infections as winter approaches.