My home town took pride in hard work and enterprise. But a reluctance to go into lockdown might have been disastrousCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageLombardy is one of the richest and most productive regions in Italy and Bergamo is its beating heart. It is also my home town: the city where I spent my childhood and adolescence. The province’s million inhabitants are characterised by a strong sense of belonging: to region and to family. They take pride too in a no-nonsense, practical approach to life and a powerful work ethic.Today, Bergamo holds the European record that no town wants: it is the place where the coronavirus pandemic has cast its darkest shadow. Bergamo is a lazaretto of pain, where the priority of hospital managers is to select only the patients they think will survive. Its undertakers are so overwhelmed they have to ask neighbouring communes to take their corpses for cremation. Continue reading...
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About half of the COVID-19 survivors from Bergamo, one of Italy's coronavirus epicenters, haven't recovered six months on, providing a stark warning of the pandemic's lingering aftermath
Summary List Placement Six months after the coronavirus hit Bergamo, Lombardy's worst-hit province, which was Italy's...Summary List Placement 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. It had about 6,000 COVID-19 deaths, filling 10 pages of a local newspaper, according to ABC News. 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 analyzed 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.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Tempers fray over social distancing and visitors from Lombardy tell of discriminationCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all...Tempers fray over social distancing and visitors from Lombardy tell of discriminationCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageTensions are breaking out on beaches and tourists from Lombardy have reported instances of discrimination as Italy’s first holiday season since the coronavirus outbreak gets under way.Residents of Codogno, in Lodi province, the first town in the country’s badly affected Lombardy region to be quarantined, have claimed attempts to book holidays elsewhere in Italy were rebuffed after they revealed they would be travelling from a former “red zone”. Continue reading...
In the northern region of La Rioja, one medieval town has suffered a particularly deadly outbreak....In the northern region of La Rioja, one medieval town has suffered a particularly deadly outbreak. And in such a tight-knit community, suspicion and recrimination can spread as fast as the virus. By Giles TremlettWhen we first spoke, in mid-April, María José Dueñas began weeping within seconds. Her parents’ home town, Santo Domingo de La Calzada, had the worst death rate from coronavirus in Spain, she told me on the phone. “I’m so scared,” she said. Dueñas told stories of police clambering through windows to rescue the dying, who were too weak to open their doors. Regional politicians, meanwhile, refused to give town-by-town figures for the dead, stoking anxiety and encouraging conspiracy theories. Santo Domingo’s locked-down residents, she claimed, were being deliberately kept in the dark as the virus silently stalked the town.Dueñas does not live in Santo Domingo, a town of 6,300 people set among patchwork fields of cereal crops in the northern Spanish region of La Rioja. She was born there, but now lives 28 miles away in Logroño, the capital of this wealthy region, best known for the rich red wines that bear its name. Her angry, sometimes wildly conspiratorial outbursts on local Facebook groups – some of which have been deleted against her will – mean not all her old neighbours will welcome her back. Continue reading...