The northern Italian city of Bergamo became a chilling symbol of Europe’s coronavirus pandemic in the spring, when hospitals lacked enough beds to treat all those severely ill and army trucks carried coffins from inundated morgues to other parts of the country.

Now, as the pandemic’s second wave spreads across Italy and Europe, Bergamo is being spared. The city and its surrounding province have lower infection rates than many other parts of Italy. Bergamo’s main hospital has beds to spare and is taking in patients from harder-hit cities such as Milan.

“If this is really what the second wave will look like, we can breathe a sigh of relief,” said Stefano Fagiuoli, medical director at Bergamo’s Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, one of the most modern in Italy’s prosperous Lombardy region. The hospital has around 90 Covid-19 patients, compared with around 600 at the peak of the crisis in April.

“We know what it’s like for cases to soar, and we have resources ready to deal with that. Our impression is that other provinces may need them more than Bergamo, but we are happy to help,” Dr. Fagiuoli said.

In the province of Bergamo, home to 1.1 million people, approximately 5,000 people are thought to have died from Covid-19 in March alone. Total mortality that month was five times higher than in previous years.

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