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Coronavirus

Italy Honors COVID Dead with Living Monument on Anniversary

ROME — Italy is marking the anniversary of one of the most haunting moments of its COVID-19 emergency, when Bergamo’s death toll reached such heights that an army convoy had to transport the dead out because its cemeteries and crematoria were full.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi is visiting the northern city of Bergamo on Thursday to commemorate the anniversary. He is laying a wreath at the cemetery and inaugurating a forest named in honor of the more than 100,000 people who have died in the pandemic in Italy, the first country in the West to be hit.

The anniversary comes as much of Italy is under new lockdown amid a new surge of infections and as its halting vaccination campaign slows down further thanks to the suspension of AstraZeneca shots.

Footage off the army convoy snaking its way through Bergamo’s valley roads on March 18, 2020 remains one of the most heart-wrenching and iconic images of the pandemic in Italy, in a year that has seen many: the exhausted nurse collapsed on her computer keyboard after a shift, and more recently, the Rome-area bistro owner sitting hunched over in her restaurant kitchen after the latest lockdown was imposed.

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