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Coronavirus in Italy: the saturated hospital system

Simple camp beds, three feet apart. The patients of an Italian hospital are waiting to know if they are infected, in a loneliness that one suspects agonizing. We are in Lombardy, which concentrates half of the 15,000 cases. Health care is on the brink of breakdown. Here, it was urgent to reopen two disinfected floors.

When they arrive, patients are greeted in tents, and sorted according to their condition. “The main problem is the fear of patients when they present themselves. First, because they are not in a traditional hospital structure, and these tents do not reassure them. Then because if they test positive, we really have to calm them down, and explain to them what will happen to them next.“explains Alberto Poinelli, nurse. Italy is now learning to live with confinement, and with its deserted cities, such as Piazza Navona in Rome, or the Vatican. The only authorized exit is the supermarket, where people queue, a good meter away.

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