Following the Italian Health Institute guidelines for releasing someone from self-isolation, Politi was tested again two weeks after his positive swab. But, fever-free and with no symptoms at all, he tested positive once more. The test was carried out a week later, 21 days after his diagnosis, and he still tested positive for the virus. Now, 30 days later, Politi has just tested positive again, calling into question just how long the novel coronavirus stays in some people’s systems and whether that might play a role in why, despite a month-long draconian lockdown, Italy just can’t seem to shake the virus…

Massimo Galli, director of the biomedical and clinical sciences department of the Sacco Hospital in Milan, says that the fact that some people take longer to shed the virus could be why it is taking so long for Italy, which flattened the curve on infections more than 10 days ago, to start seeing a drastic decrease in cases.

“Politi is not an isolated case,” Galli said on Sunday. “We need to understand how to act to avoid the worst. Taking millions of swabs is impossible but countermeasures and solutions must be found because patients like Politi, completely asymptomatic or not very symptomatic but fully positive after many days, are a problem.”