A new picture released online shows coronavirus patients inside Italy’s quarantine zone where they are fighting for their lives.
In some of the images, the patients are pictured on their hospital beds as they get treated by medical staff suited up in hazmat-style gear in Cremona, northern Italy. Some of the patients were attached to life support, while others were seen lying face down in order to improve their oxygen levels.
Dr. Daniele Macchini of Humanitas Gavazzeni, who is one of the Italian intensive care doctors treating coronavirus patients in Bergamo, Lombardy, has likened the virus to war.
He said: “After much thought about whether and what to write about what is happening to us, I felt that silence was not responsible.
“I will therefore try to convey to people far from our reality what we are living in Bergamo in these days of Covid-19 pandemic. I understand the need not to create panic, but when the message of the danger of what is happening does not reach people I shudder.
“I saw with some amazement the reorganisation of the entire hospital in the past week, when our enemy was still in the shadows: the wards slowly emptied, elective treatments were interrupted, intensive care was freed up to create as many beds as possible.
“All this brought a surreal emptiness to the corridors of the hospital, waiting for a war that was yet to begin and that many (including me) were not sure would ever come with such ferocity.
“Now, explain to me which flu virus causes such a rapid drama? While people boast of not being afraid, ignoring directions, protesting because their routine is temporarily upset, the epidemiological disaster is taking place.
“There are no more surgeons, urologists, orthopaedists – we are only doctors who have become part of a single team to face this tsunami that has overwhelmed us.
“Cases are multiplying, with a rate of 15-20 admissions per day – all for the same reason. The results of the swabs now come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. Suddenly the ER is collapsing. Reasons for admission are always the same: fever and breathing difficulties, fever and cough, respiratory failure.
“Radiology reports are always the same: bilateral interstitial pneumonia. All to be hospitalised.
“Some are already intubated go to intensive care. For others it’s too late. Ventilators are like gold dust: those in operating theatres that have suspended non-urgent activity become intensive care places that did not exist before.
“The staff are exhausted. I saw tiredness on faces that didn’t know what tiredness was before, despite their already exhausting workloads. But there is solidarity, too, and we never failed to go to our colleagues to ask: “What can I do for you now?”
“Some infected colleagues have infected relatives, some of whom are already fighting for their lives.
“So be patient – you can’t go to the theatre, museums or the gym. Try to have pity on the myriad of old people you could exterminate.
“We try to make ourselves useful. You should, too. We influence the life and death of a few dozen people. You, many more. Please share this.”