Italy is the European country hit hardest by COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Over 10,000 people have contracted the disease in the country of just over 60 million people.

Over 630 people have died from COVID-19 and 1,000 are confirmed to have made a full recovery.

A major reason for a large number of fatalities is Italy's aging population. Italy has the oldest population in Europe, with about 23% of residents 65 or older, according to a report in Live Science.


Many of Italy's deaths have been among people in their 80s and 90s, a group that is more susceptible to complications from COVID-19.

To prevent the spread of the disease, most of the country is on lockdown and public gatherings have been shut down for the time being. "No more nightlife; we can't allow this anymore since they are occasions for contagion," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a statement.

Italian influencers Chiara Ferragni and her husband, rapper Fedez, have used their fame to help their homeland by soliciting donations on their Instagram page. In just two days, they've raised over €3.5 million ($4 million) for coronavirus intensive care units.

The couple's GoFunMe campaign is "Coronavirus: Rafforziamo La Terapia Intensiva," translated to "Coronavirus: We Strengthen Intensive Care."

The money raised will go toward noninvasive ventilation devices, hemodynamic monitoring, fans, and monitors for the intensive care unit at Milan's San Raffaele Hospital.

The campaign was created with the help of Professor Alberto Zangrillo, head of the Milanese hospital's cardiovascular and general intensive care department.

"This is a concrete contribution, which we tremendously appreciate and that we hope can be an example for many," Zangrillo said. "We continue our battle, which we will win, against this extraordinary emergency, where intensive care is the only chance to cure the patients most affected [by the virus]."

via Angel Dust / Flickr

Ferragni is a mega-popular fashion influencer and Fedez is a hip-hop superstar. Together, they have a total following of 27.9 million Instagram users. The couple's wedding last September was one of Italy's biggest pop culture events of 2019.

Ferragni is the founder of The Blonde Salad, a fashion blog that has turned into a global retail business.

The couple started the campaign with a $100,000 donation to create beds in the intensive care area of Milan's San Raffaele hospital. "We hope that this initiative will raise awareness among people in Italy and aboard of the current coronavirus crisis, which is affecting all of us," Ferragni and Fedez said in a joint statement.

The campaign started with a €1,500,000 ($1.8 million) goal, but was quickly doubled after its runaway success.

"This is the power of social media when used in the right way," Ferragni said on Instagram. "I'm so proud of you. Let's keep donating and making a change."

While the world of Instagram users is often criticized for promoting vanity, unrealistic body images, and unobtainable lifestyles, Ferragni and Fedez should be commended for using their collective platform for good.

Their work goes to show that influencers can use their power to do more than just promote themselves.

As face masks have become mandatory in many places to limit the spread of coronavirus, it's also become an increasingly politicized thing. As we know, anything that involves political polarization also involves vast amounts of misinformation and disinformation. Whose idea was the internet again?

No one I know loves wearing a mask. We all wish we didn't have to. But there are an awful lot of people saying they can't wear one, or they refuse to wear one because they've been led to believe that masks are somehow more dangerous than not wearing one. I've seen and read "information" on everything from masks depriving people of oxygen to masks causing CO2 build up to masks creating fungus problems.

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