coronavirus pandemic

Thousands of medical staff infected with coronavirus in Italy

As coronavirus cases jump and deaths surge in Italy, new figures show an “enormous” level of contagion among the country’s medical personnel.

At least 2,629 doctors are infected by coronavirus since the onset of the outbreak in February, representing 8.3 percent of total cases, in line with a report published on Wednesday by Gruppo Italiano per la Medicina Basata sulle Evidenze or GIMBE – Italy’s Group for Evidence-based Medicine.

The data has sent shock waves through the country’s already strained healthcare system.

“We extracted this number from data provided by the National Health Institute,” GIMBE Director Nino Cartabellotta, a public health expert, told Al Jazeera.

“Figures regarding the contagion among doctors, nurses and general health professionals have started being disclosed only on March 11. many new cases are daily recorded since then. But medical personnel on the front should be the primary to be protected.”

Cartabellotta said the particular number was likely to be higher because healthcare workers aren’t always tested and protection measures at hospitals were inadequate.

Many who tend to coronavirus patients are still only using surgical face masks with no proper protective filters to shield them from contagion.

The percentage of doctors infected in Italy is sort of double the quantity registered throughout the epidemic in China, during which a complete of quite 3,200 people died.

According to figures published in JAMA Network Open, a web medical site from the Journal of the American Medical Association, infected medical staff in China made up 3.8 percent of the entire cases, with only five deaths.

Over 60 percent of the medical staff who were infected were registered within the epicentre’s outbreak, Wuhan.

Italy is that the worst-hit country after China.

On Wednesday, Italy announced that over the preceeding 24 hours, the quantity of deaths had risen by 475 to 2,978, a rise of 19 percent, as cases jumped to a complete 35,713.

There aren’t any official figures on the quantity of medical personnel who have died of coronavirus in Italy.

According to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, a medico from the province of Lodi died on Wednesday. This raised the price of family doctors within the area to four. Other regions have also registered losses among medical staff.

A lack of apparatus, resources and personnel has piled pressure on Italy’s health system.

Italy doesn’t produce masks. With the pandemic spreading, a number of its closest neighbours are reluctant to export supplies they will need soon.

“The problem at once is that the supply of the protective gear,” Cartabellotta said. “The government should have thought of this your time ago. it’s logical that following the world explosion of the pandemic, countries producing masks and other protective devices are now keeping them to themselves and stopped their exports.

“We have already got a limited number of doctors and nurses. Under extreme circumstances, we could even ask them to stay working whether or not [they] tested positive for coronavirus. Still, they ought to be equipped with protective devices to avoid spreading the virus further.”

An emergency decree presented by the govt on Monday allocated 3.5 billion euros ($3.8bn) towards the ailing health system.

“We are importing medical personnel from abroad and throwing new young healthcare professionals without licenses into the fray,” Cartabellotta said. “If we do not provide them with adequate protection, it’ll find yourself like in a very war where soldiers don’t die while fighting on the battlefield, but due to lack of apparatus. The more medical personnel is infected, the weaker the responsiveness of the healthcare system.”

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