Coronavirus in Italy: the nurse who records the covid-19 crisis with his camera in a hospital


Paolo Miranda is an intensive care nurse at the only hospital in Cremona, a small town in the Italian region of Lombardy that is at the heart of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, There, until March 19, there were more than 2,000 people infected with the virus and about 200 had died.
The hospital where Paolo Miranda works is at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
"Everyone calls us heroes, but I don't feel like one."
Paolo Miranda is an intensive care nurse at the only hospital in Cremona, a small town in the Italian region of Lombardy that is at the heart of the outbreak of the new coronavirus.
There, until March 19, there were more than 2,000 people infected with the virus and about 200 had died.
Like many of her colleagues, Miranda has been working long 12-hour shifts for the past month.
"We are professionals, but we are running low. Right now, we feel like we are in the trenches, and we are all afraid."

Italy is the world's deadliest country in the coronavirus outbreak.

There are more than 35,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy.  It is a time of trial for the young nurse and his team. But they are committed and they help each other.  " Sometimes some of us fall apart: we feel despair, we cry because we feel helpless when our patients are not getting better," he says.
Italy is the world's deadliest country in the coronavirus outbreak.
Paolo loves taking photos and decided to document the grim situation inside the intensive care unit where he works.
"I do not want to forget what is happening. This will become history and for me, the images are more powerful than the words."
In his photos, Paolo wants to show the strength of his colleagues, but also his fragility.
"The other day, out of nowhere, one of my classmates started screaming and jumping from one side of the hall to the other," he says.
"She had been tested for and had just found out that she did not have the virus. She is usually very calm, but she was terrified and could not contain her relief; She is human."
There are more than 35,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Italy.
It is a time of trial for the young nurse and his team. But they are committed and they help each other.
Sometimes some of us fall apart: we feel despair, we cry because we feel helpless when our patients are not getting better," he says.
When that happens, the rest of the team tries to make their partner feel better.
"We say some joke, we make him smile and even laugh. Otherwise, we would go crazy," he says.

Emotional burnout can be very hard many times.

Italy already surpassed China in death toll with 3,400.  With more than 41,000 confirmed cases, the country's doctors and nurses, particularly in the hardest-hit cities in the north, are struggling to keep going day by day.
Emotional burnout can be very hard many times.
Italy already surpassed China in death toll with 3,400.
With more than 41,000 confirmed cases, the country's doctors and nurses, particularly in the hardest-hit cities in the north, are struggling to keep going day by day.
For nine years that he has been a nurse, Paolo saw many people die, he is used to it.
But what hit him during this pandemic is seeing so many people die alone.
"When patients die in intensive care, they are usually surrounded by their family. There is dignity in their death. And we are there to support them, it is part of what we do."
Relatives and friends can usually visit and meet at the bedside of the sick.
But during the last month, that is prohibited, to avoid contagion. They can't even enter the hospital.
"We treat all these people with the virus as if they were basically abandoned," he describes.
Dying alone is a very ugly thing, I don't wish it on anyone.
Northern Italy, where this hospital is located, has a large number of older people, who are more vulnerable to the virus.

A hospital overwhelmed by Coronavirus

The Cremona hospital has been transformed into a "coronavirus hospital".  Now they only treat patients with the virus, around 600, and all other medical operations were suspended.
The Cremona hospital has been transformed into a "coronavirus hospital"
The Cremona hospital has been transformed into a "coronavirus hospital".
Now they only treat patients with the virus, around 600, and all other medical operations were suspended.
New patients continue to arrive but have run out of beds in the intensive care unit.
"We have been installing beds anywhere we can, in every corner. It is so overflowing with people."
They are building a field hospital outside the main entrance, which will provide 60 additional beds for intensive care. But it's not enough.

Paolo captured the moment when his colleagues are preparing to treat patients with coronavirus.

Light at the end of the tunnel
So how does Paolo manage to cope in this situation?
He says the love that people are showing to nurses across the country keeps them active.
Many were hailed as heroes.
The team at this hospital in Cremona received dozens of gifts.
"Every day we go to work we find something new," says Paolo.
"Pizzas, sweets, cakes, drinks... the other day we received a thousand capsules of coffee with an espresso machine. Let's say we keep our spirits up with carbohydrates," he jokes.
The gifts give Paolo some comfort, but he can never completely disconnect from the hospital.
Nurses take care of each other.
A short break during a 12-hour shift helps regain strength.
"I am devastated when I return home at the end of my shift. I go to sleep and wake up several times during the night. Most of my colleagues do the same thing."
The only thing that keeps him active is adrenaline.
But this situation is beginning to take its toll and Paolo feels more tired every day.
"I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. I don't know what will happen, I just hope this end."


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