Region home to Aviano Air Base totals 100,000 coronavirus infections since pandemic began
By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 8, 2021
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AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — The Italian region that hosts Aviano Air Base, home to the Air Force’s 31st Fighter Wing, surpassed 100,000 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began after hundreds of new cases were reported this week.
Italy reported 13,708 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, bringing its pandemic total above 3.7 million. Of those cases, 286 were reported in Fruili-Venezia Giulia, where Aviano is located.
Like many countries in Europe, Italy has experienced a wave of infections since March, when it averaged about 25,000 new cases per day at peak levels.
There are 12,962 active cases in Fruili-Venezia Giulia, Italian Health Ministry figures showed Wednesday.
The virus has contributed to the deaths of more than 112,000 people in Italy since the pandemic began. They include Aviano airman Tech. Sgt. Michael W. Morris, 36, who died from COVID-19 complications Jan. 12, Italian authorities determined following an autopsy investigation.
Italy, like many countries in Europe, has struggled to quickly vaccinate its population. Out of about 60 million people, about 8 million had received at least one injection through Wednesday, according to national wire service ANSA.
The country has had numerous coronavirus measures in place, with many businesses shuttered and residents facing an array of restrictions expected to last through at least the end of April.
The hardest hit region during the pandemic has been Lombardy, which includes Milan and has more than 10 million residents. It has had 755,811 coronavirus cases and 31,373 deaths since last year.
Several other heavily affected regions are home to U.S. military bases. Veneto, home to U.S. Army Garrison Italy, has had the second highest number of cases since the pandemic began, with 391,053, Italian Health Ministry figures show. Campania, which includes the Navy’s 6th Fleet headquarters, is third with 391,053.
Sicily, home to Naval Air Station Sigonella, is fourth in population but ninth in cases with 181,386 since last year. Tuscany, where the Army’s Camp Darby is located, is seventh among the regions with 204,347 cases as of Wednesday.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Kimberly Carranza administers the second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to a 31st Fighter Wing airman at Aviano Air Base, Italy, Feb. 26, 2021. With 286 new coronavirus cases logged April 7, 2021, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, the region hosting the base, has topped 100,000 cases since the pandemic began.
BROOKE MOEDER/U.S. AIR FORCE