Italian Doctor Says Coronavirus Outbreak Like a ‘War Situation’

A elderly woman receives assistance in the a pre-triage medical tent in front of the Cremona hospital, in Cremona, northern Italy, on March 4, 2020. - Italy will recommend people stop kissing in public, avoid shaking hands and keep a safe distance from each other to limit the spread of …
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images

A doctor working at the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in the northern Italian city of Bergamo has claimed the coronavirus situation is like that of a country at war.

The unnamed doctor, who works as an anesthesiologist, advised Italians with the virus to simply stay home and said that capacity in the hospital was so full that health practitioners were only choosing to treat those most likely to recover from the virus based on health condition and age.

” Non-invasive ventilation is only a transition phase,” he said and added on comments reported by Il Giornale: “Since unfortunately there is a disproportion between hospital resources, ICU beds, and critically ill people, not all are intubated.”

The doctor went on to add that if patients had serious respiratory failure or the failure of three vital organs or more due to the virus, “it means that you have a one hundred per cent mortality rate. They are now gone.”

“We are not in a position to tempt what are called miracles. It is reality,” he said and slammed those who have stated that coronavirus is not deadly on its own.

“It is not even respectful of those who leave us. They die of COVID-19 because, in its critical form, interstitial pneumonia affects previous respiratory problems, and the patient can no longer bear this situation. Death is caused by the virus, not by anything else,” he said.

The toll on health workers has also been great in terms of both emotions and stress, according to the anesthesiologist. “It is not only the workload but the emotional one, which is devastating. I have seen nurses with 30 years’ experience behind them cry, people have nervous breakdowns, and I suddenly tremble.”

The outbreak has also affected other aspects of hospital care, the doctor said, claiming that something like a heart attack under normal circumstances would take minutes to be seen by a doctor but under current conditions could take an hour or longer.

Italy has been the epicentre of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe and has, as of Monday, seen over 9,000 confirmed cases and 463 fatalities.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who has previously been slammed by populist Senator Matteo Salvini for his government’s handling of the situation, has labelled the outbreak Italy’s “darkest hour”.

“These days, I have been thinking about the old speeches of [Winston] Churchill — it is our darkest hour but we will make it,” Conte said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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