Covid-19: Half of the survivors from one of Italy's epicentres haven't recovered six months on
- Six months after the coronavirus hit Bergamo, one of Italy’s early epicenters, nearly half of the survivors haven’t recovered, and are still dealing with a range of problems, according to The Washington Post.
- Pope John XXIII Hospital infectious disease specialist Serena Venturelli, who has been taking part in a study of Covid-19’s long term effects, told the Post: “Almost half of the patients say no,” when asked if they were cured.
- Bergamo was closely followed by international media early in the year — army trucks had to drive bodies to morgues outside the region, oxygen had to be piped in for patients, and a harrowing video was released by Sky News showing an overwhelmed ICU dealing with a wave of patients.
- The long-term effects study began in early May and is based on evidence gathered from former patients visiting the hospital, having their blood drawn, hearts and lungs checked, and discussing how their lives have been since.
- Venturelli told the Post the doctors felt a “moral obligation” to call the survivors back.
- Out of the first 750 people who were examined about 30% had breathing difficulties and lung scarring, and another 30% had blood clotting and inflammation issues.
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Six months after the coronavirus hit Bergamo, Lombardy's worst-hit province, which was Italy's worst hit region, nearly half of the survivors still haven't recovered, and are dealing with a range of problems.
Pope John XXIII Hospital infectious disease specialist Dr. Serena Venturelli, who is one of the doctors working on a study of Covid-19's long term effects, told The Washington Post, "Almost half of the patients say no," when asked if they were cured.
Bergamo is the city where a harrowing video was released in March showing an overwhelmed ICU dealing with a wave of patients.
At one point, so much oxygen was needed for 92 people on ventilators that oxygen had to be piped in using an emergency tank, according to The Post.
At another point, the Italian military had to drive bodies to different provinces, because Bergamo's morgues were overflowing.
The long-term effects study began in early May, and it is based on evidence gathered from twenty people visiting each day, who have their blood drawn, have hearts and lungs checked, and then discuss how their lives have been.
Venturelli told The Post they felt a "moral obligation" to call the survivors back.
"What we saw in March was a tragedy, not a normal hospitalization," she said.
Dr. Monica Casati, who works in the same hospital as Venturelli, told The Post working in March, hearing people crying and struggling to breathe, was reminiscent of "Dante's inferno."
Out of the first 750 people who were examined about 30% had breathing difficulties and lung scarring, and another 30% had blood clotting and inflammation issues.
Doctors from the hospital told The Post there were a wide range of effects, including hair loss, severe fatigue, tingling, depression, memory loss, and pain in the legs.
This is not the first time Covid-19 damage has been analysed from Bergamo.
In July, Dr. Roberto Cosentini, the head of the emergency department at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital told Sky News: "We see a significant proportion of the population with chronic damage from the virus."
But doctors are not completely disheartened. Patients' breathing often seems to improve slowly despite permanent lung scarring, and no one has had a fever, The Post reported.
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