Staff frantically wave us out of the approach, pushing gurneys carrying women and men on cell respirators, it’s not chaos however it is hectic.
They rush previous wards already rammed with beds all stuffed with folks in horrible misery; gasping for air, clutching at their chests and at tubes pumping oxygen into their oxygen-starved lungs.
I’m in the predominant hospital in Bergamo, the hardest-hit hospital in Italy in the hardest-hit city in the hardest-hit province, Lombardy – and it’s simply plain scary.
Masked, gloved and in a hazmat go well with, my staff and I are led by means of corridors filled with gasping individuals who look terribly sick.
I ask what ward I’m in.
“This isn’t really a ward, it’s a waiting room, we just have to use every bit of space,” my information, Vanna Toninelli, head of the hospital press workplace tells me.
The medical groups are combating a warfare right here and they’re shedding.
The sheer numbers of individuals succumbing to the coronavirus is overwhelming each hospital in northern Italy, it may simply overwhelm the remainder of the nation as properly.
The employees are working flat out attempting to maintain their sufferers from deteriorating additional. They are attempting to cease them from dying.
In teams they crowd round the newest sufferers. Attaching displays, drips and most significantly respirators. Without them the sufferers will merely go downhill quick.
Really quick. Deadly quick.
It appears like an intensive care unit (ICU) however it is definitely simply an emergency arrivals ward. The ICU is full. The folks being handled are new arrivals, however they appear far worse than that.
Anywhere else in the world they might be intensive care circumstances however right here, to qualify, you’re really on the level of dying, not simply gravely sick.
In this pandemic gravely sick is taken into account an affordable place. It actually is that dangerous.
The arrival of individuals right here is an absolute fixed. This killer pandemic is nearly uncontrolled.
We have all heard what has been happening right here, however no journalist has been allowed in right here to see it, till now.
The metropolis of Bergamo invited us in to indicate everybody what a catastrophic emergency, that no person has ever skilled earlier than, appears like.
They need you to see it. They need the world’s inhabitants to query their very own governments’ responses.
Because there will be no excuse anymore that no person knew. Italy didn’t. Now everybody else does.
Through plastic bubbles that match over the heads of the most sick, employees wrestle to speak with sufferers.
The weak can barely communicate and above the noise of the ward and the fixed bleep of coronary heart displays and respiration pumps, it’s nearly inconceivable to make out what they’re saying.
The bubbles try to equalise the air stress in the lungs.
Nobody anticipated this, no person even imagined they might be treating so many so rapidly.
And for the document, it is NOT like flu, it is most of the time continual pneumonia and it is killing a whole bunch right here every day.
The head of emergency care, Dr Roberto Cosentini, says they’ve by no means seen something like it, and he and his employees are warning different international locations, particularly the UK, that they may see it quickly.
“It’s a very severe pneumonia, and so it’s a massive strain for every health system, because we see every day 50-60 patients who come to our emergency department with pneumonia, and most of them are so severe they need very high volumes of oxygen.
“And so we needed to reorganise our emergency room and our hospital [to] three ranges of intensive care.”
The Papa Giovanni XXII hospital is one of the most advanced in Europe, but even this gleaming mega hospital is on its knees.
Bergamo is the absolute centre of this epidemic and the hospital is attempting to deal with a crisis that was never imagined.
Many of the medical staff have worked or trained in the UK. Dr Lorenzo Grazioli worked in Leicester for a year.
He says his friends have been ringing him constantly to get a sense of what it is like. He told me they are bracing themselves for the same and are very worried.
He, like every other doctor and nurse I spoke to, urged the UK to follow the example of China and Italy, and lock down everything straight away.
It is, they say, the only way to slow the virus down: not beat it, slow it.
“I’ve by no means felt so confused in my life, I’m an intensivist, and I’m fairly used to intense moments, and the decisions, and persons are vital and die with none remedy, and also you [usually] make the distinction,” he told me.
“But if you find yourself at this level you realise that you’re not sufficient.
“We are 100 anaesthetists, we are doing our best, but maybe it’s not enough.”
In labs, employees are repeatedly testing for the virus and looking for one thing that may beat it. They say it’s a good distance off.
The downside dealing with well being companies throughout the world is that when the an infection curve goes up it rockets, and all sources, all testing, all provides are used up immediately. Multiple hospitals all making the identical calls for at the identical time.
It’s crippling – right here they call it the apocalypse.
Bergamo wished us to see this, as I’ve mentioned, they usually wish to ship a easy message: “Get ready”.