In Italy, with the oldest population in Europe, the toll has been heavy, with more than 2,100 deaths — the most outside of China. On Monday alone, more than 300 people died. The nation is grieving, and yet cannot grieve together with everyone in isolation.
The New York Times: Italy’s Coronavirus Victims Face Death Alone, With Funerals Postponed
At around midnight on Wednesday, Renzo Carlo Testa, 85, died from the coronavirus in a hospital in the northern Italian town of Bergamo. Five days later, his body was still sitting in a coffin, one of scores lined head-to-toe in the church of the local cemetery, which is itself closed to the public. His wife of 50 years, Franca Stefanelli, would like to give him a proper funeral. But traditional funeral services are illegal throughout Italy now, part of the national restrictions against gatherings and going out that have been put in place to try to stem the spread of Europe’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus. In any case, she and her sons could not attend anyway, because they are themselves sick and in quarantine. (Horowitz and Bubola, 3/16)
Politico: In Italy And Beyond, Churches Grapple With Coronavirus
After Italy’s coronavirus lockdown forced churches to suspend Mass, Don Andrea Vena, a priest in the Venetian beach resort of Bibione, had to find some other way to reach out to his flock. So he loaded a Madonna into the cargo bed of a minivan, grabbed a loudspeaker and embarked on a tour of the town, blessing people from the back of the truck. “People are scared and worried, if they can’t come to church it is right that I go to them,” he said. “They came out on their terraces and through their windows and cried to see the Madonna.” (Roberts and Stamouli, 3/17)
Reuters: Special Report: ‘All Is Well’. In Italy, Triage And Lies For Virus Patients
The fight against death pauses every day at 1 p.m. At that time, doctors in the intensive care unit of Policlinico San Donato phone relatives of the unit’s 25 critically-ill coronavirus patients, all of whom are sedated and have tubes down their throats to breathe, to update the families. Lunchtime used to be for visiting hours at this Milan hospital. But now, as the country grapples with a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people, no visitors are allowed in. And no one in Italy leaves their homes anymore. (3/16)
The Washington Post: Coronavirus Obituaries Fill The Newspaper In Bergamo, Italy
In the part of Italy hit hardest by the coronavirus, the crematorium has started operating 24 hours a day. Coffins have filled up two hospital morgues, and then a cemetery morgue, and are now being lined up inside a cemetery church. The local newspaper’s daily obituary section has grown from two or three pages to 10, sometimes listing more than 150 names, in what the top editor likens to “war bulletins.” By death toll alone, the coronavirus has landed in the northern province of Bergamo with the force of a historic disaster. (Harlan and Pitrelli, 3/16)
CIDRAP: Doctors: COVID-19 Pushing Italian ICUs Toward Collapse
Hospital systems everywhere should activate emergency intensive care unit (ICU) networks and reserve beds to prepare for a “massive” increase in COVID-19 patients, doctors in hard-hit Lombardy, Italy, said in a commentary published on Mar 13 in JAMA. The Milan-based authors used data gathered since Mar 7 to create linear and exponential models to project regional ICU demand to Mar 20. They said that their linear model predicted that 869 patients could require ICU admission by Mar 20, while their exponential model pushed that figure to 14,542. (Van Beusekom, 3/16)
The New York Times: Sweden’s Getinge To Deliver 500 Ventilators To Italy As Demand Rockets
Swedish medical equipment group Getinge will deliver 500 ventilators to Italy, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday, as a growing number of countries rush to buy the machines to treat people worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak. As Europe becomes the epicenter of the outbreak, authorities are becoming increasingly concerned about a potential lack of ventilators, which are used to keep people alive if they are struggling to breathe. (3/16)
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