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Coronovirus claimed dozens of Italian doctors

Healthcare workers pay heavy toll on the front line fighting virus, but experts say Italy has yet to reach its peak

Giada Zampano   | 27.03.2020
Coronovirus claimed dozens of Italian doctors


ROME

Forty-five health workers in Italy have died from coronavirus since the outbreak began in late February, as doctors and nurses work on the front line in a desperate effort to stop the contagion in the world’s worst-hit country.

According to official data, coronavirus has so far infected over 6,000 doctors, nurses, and other health staff. The majority were working in the hard-hit northern regions and contracted the virus in the early stages of the outbreak, when protections were insufficient.

Doctors have paid a heavy, personal toll amid the pandemic, working endless hours and exposing themselves and their families to the virus.

The COVID-19 emergency has brought Italy’s famously efficient healthcare system close to collapse, pushing the government to open bids for an additional task force of 300 doctors able to work on the front lines. The response was surprising, with almost 8,000 applications in total.

Italy holds the grim record of the highest number of deaths – with over 8,000 victims and more than 62,000 infected – as contagions continue to climb.

Observers have expressed worries on the rising curve of the infections, which has yet to demonstrate firm signs of a turnaround.

Silvio Brusaferro, the head of Italy’s Higher Institute of Health, said on Friday that Italy hasn’t reached the peak of contagions yet, but added that since March 19-20 the curve has shown a slowdown.

On Thursday, Italy's Civil Protection reported 712 new deaths, bringing the country's death toll to 8,215.

Brusaferro, however, warned against making too much of daily data.

“The daily data can be influenced by specific factors, for example the number of swabs executed, while we should look at the curves, and those are showing a slowdown,” he told reporters.

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