Inside a coronavirus hospital in Italy, doctors warn: get ready

Mar 20, 2020, 9:00 AM | Updated: 9:01 am
coronavirus hospital italy...
Screenshot of patients inside the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital. (SKY NEWS)

BERGAMO, Italy — At Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo, one of the worst-hit cities in the country of Italy, doctors call the outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus “Armageddon.”

Their message to the rest of the world is simple: Get ready.

Coronavirus overwhelms a hospital in Italy

More than 4,500 residents of the northern Italian city tested positive for the novel coronavirus, almost instantly overwhelming their hospitals.

UK broadcaster Sky News visited their hospital and found doctors inundated and struggling to treat patients in critical condition, suffering from the coronavirus.

 Warning: This video contains images of patients suffering from acute COVID-19 coronavirus that some may find difficult to watch.

The hospital’s head of emergency care, Dr Roberto Cosentini, told Sky News this is not like the flu, it is chronic pneumonia.

“It’s a very severe pneumonia, and so it’s a massive strain for every health system because we see every day 50 to 60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen,” Cosenti said.

That rapid influx of critical patients, he says, led them to reorganize their entire hospital to three levels of intensive care.

This isn’t just a rural hospital, either. Sky News describes Papa Giovanni XXIII as one of Europe’s most advanced facilities, but struggling to cope with being at the center of the epidemic in Italy.

Funeral service providers overwhelmed, too

Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori wrote to surrounding cities asking for help with cremations. The exact number of deaths in the city is unknown, but country-wide, Italy counted more than 31,500 confirmed cases and over 2,500 deaths in just four weeks.

On Wednesday, witnesses reported seeing the Italian military in Bergamo, helping transport caskets to surrounding towns for cremation of victims.

So many more people died than usual for the area, the local newspaper expanded its obituary section from two or three pages to 10. The demand for funerals outpaced the ability of service providers to offer them.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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Inside a coronavirus hospital in Italy, doctors warn: get ready