This wasn’t supposed to happen. Italy was the first country in the West to be slammed by COVID-19 and, after suffering a huge wave of death in spring, brought infections under control.

Italy then had the benefit of time and experience heading into the fall resurgence because it trailed Spain, France and Germany in recording big new clusters of infections. Yet the virus spread fast and wide, and Italy has added 28,000 dead since Sept. 1.

“Obviously there needs to be some reflection,” Guido Rasi, former executive director of the European Pharmaceutical Agency, told state TV after Italy reported a pandemic-high record of 993 deaths in one day. “This number of nearly 1,000 dead in 24 hours is much higher than the European average.”

Italy added another 761 victims Friday, bringing its official total to 63,387, just shy of Britain’s Europe-leading 63,603 dead, according to Johns Hopkins University. Both numbers are believed to greatly underestimate the real toll, due to missed infections, limited testing and different counting criteria.