Italy’s Coronavirus Victims Face Death Alone, With Funerals Postponed（推迟）
ROME — At around midnight Wednesday, Renzo Carlo Testa, 85, died from the coronavirus in a hospital in the northern Italian town of Bergamo. Five days later, his body was still sitting in a coffin（棺材）, one of scores lined head to toe in the church of the local cemetery（公墓）, which is itself closed to the public.
罗马——周三午夜时分，85岁的伦佐·卡洛·泰斯塔(Renzo Carlo Testa)因感染新冠病毒，在意大利北部城市贝加莫的一家医院去世。五天后，他仍然躺在棺材里，在当地公墓的教堂，几十具棺材首尾相连，而公墓已经停止对公众开放。
His wife of 50 years, Franca Stefanelli, would like to give him a proper funeral. But traditional funeral services are illegal throughout Italy now, part of the national restrictions against gatherings and going out that have been put in place to try to stem the spread of Europe’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus. In any case, she and her sons could not attend anyway, because they are themselves sick and in quarantine.
“It’s a strange thing,” Stefanelli, 70, said, struggling to explain what she was going through. “It’s not anger. It’s impotence （无力感、阳痿）in the face of this virus.”
The coronavirus epidemic raging through Italy has already left streets empty and shops shuttered as 60 million Italians are essentially under house arrest. There are the exhausted doctors and nurses toiling day and night to keep people alive. There are children hanging drawings of rainbows from their windows and families singing from their balconies.
But the ultimate （最后的）metric of pandemics and plagues is the bodies they leave behind. In Italy, with the oldest population in Europe, the toll has been heavy, with more than 2,100 deaths, the most outside of China. On Monday alone, more than 300 people died.
And the bodies are piling up in the northern region of Lombardy, especially in the province of Bergamo. With 3,760 total cases reported Monday, an increase of 344 cases from the day before, according to officials, it is at the center of the outbreak.
Hospital morgues there are inundated. Bergamo’s mayor, Giorgio Gori, issued an ordinance that closed the local cemetery this week for the first time since World War II, though he guaranteed （保证）that its mortuary would still accept coffins. Many of them had been sent to the Church of All Saints in Bergamo, located in the closed cemetery, where scores of waxed （涂蜡的）wooden coffins form a macabre （恐怖的）line for cremations.
“Unfortunately, we don’t know where to put them,” said Brother Marco Bergamelli, one of the priests at the church. He said that with hundreds dying each day, and with each body taking more than an hour to cremate（火葬）, there was an awful backlog（挤压）. “It takes time, and the dead are many.”
An emergency national law issued last week banned civil and religious ceremonies, including funerals, to prevent the spread of the virus. Officials have allowed priests to say a prayer at burials attended by just a few of the bereaved. In his brief prayers to family members, who often wore masks, Bergamelli said that he tried to give consolation （安慰）and hope and urged people to be close, if permitted, to those who were alone. “This tragedy （灾难）reminds us to love life,” he said.
Testa’s death notice appeared Friday in a local paper, L’Eco di Bergamo. The paper usually has a single page of death notices. On Friday there were 10 pages, and the rest was dedicated to the virus devastating （毁坏）Bergamo.
泰斯塔的讣告于周五刊登在当地报纸《贝加莫报》(L’Eco di Bergamo)上。该报讣告栏通常只有一版，周五有了10版，其他版面都是关于这场令贝加莫陷入深深悲痛的病毒。
“For us, it’s a trauma（创伤）, an emotional trauma,” said Alberto Ceresoli, who edits the paper. “These are people who die alone and who are buried alone. They didn’t have someone hold their hand, and the funerals have to be tiny, with a quick prayer from the priest. Many of the close relatives are in quarantine.”
Giorgio Valoti, mayor of nearby Cene, died last Friday. He was 70. His son, Alessandro, said that 90 people died the same day in Bergamo’s main hospital. The virus “is massacring this valley; every family is losing someone dear to them,” he said. “In Bergamo, so many bodies are piling up they don’t know what to do with them.”
In Fiobbio, a small village outside Bergamo, an ambulance came to collect Luca Carrara’s father, 86, on Saturday. On Sunday, another one came for his mother, 82. Carrara, 52, couldn’t visit them in hospital and stayed home in quarantine, where he has begun showing symptoms of the virus. On Tuesday, his parents died. Their bodies are held in the hospital morgue awaiting cremation.
“I am sorry that they are still there,” he said. “Still alone.”
Luca di Palma, 49, said his father, Vittorio, 79, died Wednesday night and that the funeral home he called told him that it had no space for the body. Instead, workers delivered to his house a coffin, some candles, a cross and a mortuary refrigerator so that he could lay his father out in the living room. He said nobody came to pay respects, out of fear of contagion, though his father had died before he could be confirmed as a coronavirus case, and doctors had refused to perform a post-mortem swab test.
49岁的卢卡·迪帕尔马(Luca di Palma)说，他79岁的父亲维托里奥(Vittorio)于周三晚上去世，他打电话给殡仪馆，那里已经没有存放尸体的地方。工人们给他送来了一口棺材、一些蜡烛、一个十字架和一个停尸冷柜，让他把父亲放在客厅里。他说，尽管父亲在被确诊为冠状病毒病例之前就去世了，由于害怕被传染，没有人前来凭吊，医生也拒绝进对逝者进行拭子检验。
On Saturday, di Palma followed a hearse carrying his father’s body to a cemetery in Bergamo, where a caretaker let them in and locked the gates behind. A priest arrived to offer a brief prayer over the hearse, its trunk lifted. Di Palma said his father wanted to be cremated, but the wait was long. “Painful,” he said.
In a country where many learn in school about the dreaded Monatti who, preceded （在…之前）by the ringing of a little bell, retrieved corpses on carts during the 17th-century Milan plague, the amassing （积累）of dead bodies seems out of another time.
Alessandro Bosi, secretary of the National Federation of Funeral Homes, said that the virus had also caught the mortuary industry by surprise, with those who handle the dead not having sufficient masks or gloves. While health authorities say they do not believe that the virus can be transmitted posthumously, Bosi said that a corpse’s lungs often released air when being moved.
全国殡仪馆联合会(National Federation of Funeral Homes)秘书长亚历山德罗·博西(Alessandro Bosi)表示，这种病毒也让殡仪行业措手不及，处理死者的人没有足够的口罩或手套。虽然卫生部门表示，他们不认为这种病毒会在死后传播，但博西说，尸体的肺部在移动时通常会释放气体。
“We have to consider them in the way we would treat infectious individuals, and take the same care,” he said.
“If we’re not the ones taking away the dead,” he added, “then they’d have to call in the army.”