Provincial Italian hospital overrun by virus variant

CHIARI, Italy (AP) — The 160-bed hospital in the Po River Valley town of Chiari has no more beds for patients stricken with the highly contagious variant of COVID-19 first identified in Britain and which now has put hospitals in Italy’s northern Brescia province on high alert. The doctor who runs the COVID ward described the “anguish” of having patients needing help in the emergency room, and nowhere to put them. The U.K. variant surge has filled 90% of hospital beds in Brescia province as Italy crosses the grim threshold of 100,000 pandemic dead and marks the one-year anniversary Wednesday of the country’s draconian lockdown, the first in the West.