The mortuary assistant beckoned for us to observe him.
We handed room after room full of coffins. At the top of a hall he opened a door and gestured that we go inside what I may see was a church.
I did not perceive, however as we turned the nook we had been confronted by extra rows of coffins.
There are so many lifeless at the Cremona Hospital in Lombardy that they’ve to make use of the church to retailer the our bodies earlier than they’re picked up and brought away to be cremated.
Their households have not been in a position to pay their final respects or say goodbye. They cannot as a result of they’re in lockdown quarantine.
It’s a recurring theme now, everybody dies alone.
Time and once more medical doctors and nurses maintain again tears as they describe the anguish they really feel for his or her sufferers who’re dreadfully scared and lonely of their final hours.
The solely care and kindness comes from the medical employees – strangers who’re making an attempt, however usually failing, to avoid wasting them.
It is genuinely heartbreaking protecting this story and it is made worse figuring out that our personal households are weak too. They may die alone and there may be nothing I or anybody may do.
The lifeless within the church all got here from the intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital which is on the brink of collapse. This is what it’s like when the virus overwhelms, and right here in Lombardy it’s overwhelming.
Dressed in protecting garments, masks and gloves we had been led by way of abandoned, eerily quiet corridors to a set of locked double doorways.
Our information, the hospital’s well being supervisor Rosario Canino, pressed a buzzer and spoke into an intercom.
The door opened and a nurse dressed head to toe in protecting clothes with a plastic full-face visor over a masks opened the door and allow us to inside.
Rooms on either side of a hall stretched into the space.
As we walked on we handed the ICU wards. All had a number of beds all crammed with immobile individuals linked to tubes, drips and respiration gear.
The solely noise was the sound of the pumps and pinging coronary heart displays.
These sufferers are critically sick. In all likelihood they’ll by no means make it out of right here alive. That is the stark actuality dealing with everybody now.
The employees haven’t any treatment obtainable to them. They are simply making an attempt to maintain their sufferers alive.
In one ward, 5 medical doctors and nurses labored in unison to show a affected person onto her entrance. She was totally immobile. They flip the sufferers each 13 to 16 hours to alleviate the strain on their lungs.
Without doubt, this girl would die with out their fixed consideration.
The sufferers are extremely contagious. Where doable they’re noticed from a distance. But most of the time it is not doable.
None of the employees take any dangers. They wash and sanitise continuously. Gloves, masks, and protecting garments and outer-layers are frequently modified.
In reality, the women and men working within the ICU are exhausted.
The system is at breaking level and they’re as effectively. But they hold going. They aren’t the entrance line on this struggle, they’re the one line.
“I can’t say how I feel now, because it’s a war, it’s a disaster,” Dr Leonor Tamayo advised me.
“It’s very dangerous, it’s a disaster, it’s a tsunami, and we are here 12 hours a day. Only we are going home for a few hours and come back here for the work because we are here for the patients,” she stated – on the verge of tears.
The first, maybe solely, bit of excellent news for the groups right here was the information that one of their sufferers is recovering. We could not strategy him, he’s nonetheless too weak however he gave us a wave.
After two weeks he’s getting higher. However, in that two weeks not one different individual on this ward has improved and lots of have died.
One horrifying improvement right here is that the age of the victims is getting youthful – a lot youthful. One man they handled was 36.
The medical doctors aren’t certain why, however consider that people who find themselves not crucial are despatched house and there they worsen and return to hospital in a much more weak state.
The solely sicknesses being handled in Cremona hospital are linked to COVID-19 and it’s spreading.
Dr Emanuela Catenacci confirmed me round her part of the ICU.
She is often a neurosurgeon however is now working in intensive care. She requested me if she may ship a message to the surface world. In a phrase it was “lockdown”.
“Try to stop, try to stop – isolate people, stop contact in everything because otherwise the situation is, like, a tsunami, is a tsunami, when it starts to grow it’s really… it explodes,” she advised me.
“Don’t think that it is happening here and [think] it can’t happen everywhere else – because it will if you don’t do anything to stop it.”
In Lombardy they have not run out of hope however they’re scuffling with just about every thing else.
They are ready for the epidemic to peak. But it could possibly be weeks, it could possibly be for much longer.