Italy's Uncomfortable Reckoning

The WHO stands accused of conspiring with Italy to remove a damning pandemic preparedness report published May 13—and pulled a day later—that was intended to prevent deaths after the virus’s devastating first wave, The Guardian reports.

The report, led by WHO scientist Francesco Zambon, tied Italy’s initial “improvised, chaotic and creative” response to its outdated pandemic plan. Ranieri Guerra, a WHO assistant director general and the Italian health ministry’s architect responsible for updating the plan back in 2017, allegedly requested the report’s removal.

The WHO said it contained “inaccuracies and inconsistencies.”

According to Zambon, “ …all the plans that came after 2006 were just copied and pasted – not a word or comma was changed in the text.” Now, Zambon has been blocked from testifying in investigations, led by Bergamo prosecutors.

And Italy is once again Europe’s hardest-hit country, suffering nearly 29,000 deaths since Sept. 1, the AP reports, for a total toll of 64,520 deaths

Italian doctors blame systemic problems in their country’s health care system, especially in Lombardy, where private hospitals have flourished at the expense of public.

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