With heavy hearts, Italians mark year of COVID-19 outbreak

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CODOGNO, Italy (AP) — With wreath-laying ceremonies, tree plantings and church services, Italians on Sunday marked one year since their country experienced its first known COVID-19 death.

Towns in Italy’s north were the first to be hard-hit by the pandemic and put under lockdown, and residents paid tribute to the dead. Italy, with some 95,500 confirmed virus dead, has Europe’s second-highest pandemic toll after Britain. Experts say the virus also killed many others who were never tested.

While the first wave of infections largely engulfed Lombardy and other northern regions, a second surge starting in the fall of 2020 has raced throughout the country. The number of new coronavirus infections has remained stubbornly high despite a raft of restrictions on travel between regions, and in some cases between towns. In addition, gyms, cinemas and theaters have been closed and restaurants and bars must shut early in the evening. Nationwide there’s a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew.

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So far, Italy has confirmed 2.8 million cases.

It was in the hospital at the Lombard town of Codogno where a doc

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