Coronavirus, the virus first identified in Wuhan, China, has outbroken in many of the countries worldwide. The first case of coronavirus was found in December 2019 in the Wuhan city of China. In late December, China reported many pneumonia cases whose origin was not known. On further investigation, most of the cases were found connected to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market and hence, the virus was supposed to have a zoonotic origin.
Then the virus outbreak in Wuhan. 597,458 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in Wuhan till now. Out of those, 27,370 deaths have been reported and 133,373 people have recovered. The country that has second-highest coronavirus cases till now is Italy. When the virus was discovered in Wuhan, people in Italy didn’t even think that it could enter their country as it was far from China. Also, they considered it to be ’another flu’ and everyone can see what their ignorance led to.
Italy’s first patient went into the ICU on 20th February 2020. It happened in the Lombardy town of Codogno. According to the doctors, they had 8-10 patients with similar symptoms in the next 2-3 hours. And within 24 hours of that, Lombardy had 36 cases of coronavirus. The spread of the virus was so fast that the doctors had to reorganize the hospital in order to make room for more patients.
Firstly, they set up a tent, called pre-triage, at the entrance of the hospital. And then within no time, every inch of the hospital was occupied with beds and patients. It was so bad that the doctors were not even able to recognize their daily workplace. After that, they had to build physical walls for increasing the capacity and admit more patients. Two new wards were made with 50 beds in each of them. And on 17th March, they opened another one.
Doctor Enrico Storti said that they had 7 ICU beds in the hospital and after the outbreak of coronavirus, they had to increase it to 20. All the hospitals present in Lombardy had set up a total of 482 new ICU beds by 8th March. And by 12th March, the cases in Italy raised to 13,382. 8-10% of the severe cases and deaths of coronavirus, were the health care workers. And because of that, their working staff reduced to 50 percent. It has become really hard for the doctors as the patients are increasing every day and they do not have enough staff to handle them.
The doctors are not able to sleep or eat properly as they have so much work to do. Also, after they put in the ‘armor,’ as Nurse Cristina Colombo calls it, they cannot drink water or go to the toilet. And they have to keep the dress up for almost 12 hours. And the struggle is not just physical, but also emotional. As the doctors have not met their families in the last month or so. Also, the patients in pain ask for their family members, which the doctors can’t allow them to meet. The doctors also mentioned that patients asking for help and dying in front of them is a big struggle and break down for them.
By March 19th, Italy reported more deaths than China. Doctors from Italy said that other countries should keep Italy as an example and should not make the same mistake. They further added that countries should add more ICU beds and other equipment in advance to cope with any future situations.
Overview of Italy
With this coronavirus outbreak, Italy has become the epicenter of it. Many people, infected by the virus, are seen to be recovering on their own. But there is a high percentage of patients that need hospitalization and intensive care. So, Italy doctors are recommending to increase the ICU beds in all the hospitals where the virus has not spread yet.
But they also mentioned that just expanding the capacity would not help. Major lockdowns and social distancing have to be maintained in order to stop the spread of the virus. They said that this should not be considered ‘just flu’ as it is way more severe and dangerous.
About the Virus
WHO defines coronaviruses as a family of viruses. These viruses can cause a wide range of diseases, from a common cold to SARS and MERS. They were originally transferred to humans from animals like cats and camels. There are many forms of coronaviruses that are still limited to animals. The one that outbroke in China is called SARS-CoV-2 and its animal source is still unidentified. But it is definitely sure to be transferred from human to human.
The symptoms of the virus that has been spreading throughout the world are:
- The common symptoms are cough, respiratory problems and fever.
- In severe cases, pneumonia and multiple organ failure can be seen.
- It can also lead to death in more critical cases. But the mortality rate of the virus is around 3.4%, which is less than any other outbreak.
The symptoms differ from person to person. They can take up to fourteen days to be recognized, while most of the people who are infected have shown symptoms within five or six days. There can be cases of the virus that do not show any symptoms at all.
Countries Most Affected
Over 551,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported in 170 countries till now. Out of which, Wuhan and Italy remain on the top. Some other countries like the USA, Spain, Germany, Iran, France, Switzerland, the UK, and South Korea have been affected the most by the virus outbreak.
Italy doctors have recommended the USA to keep up with their medical systems and take precautions beforehand, as the cases there are rising significantly.
As said by the doctors of Italy, other countries should be taking them as an example and take precautionary measures to keep their countries safe. This virus is spreading fast. Though the mortality rate is low, the countries cannot cope with the number of patients that would need intensive care. As for Italy, they have to make tough decisions on which patients they would be treating and the one they would not be.