- The head of the ICU at a hospital in Bergamo, northern Italy, said many patients there who were being treated for COVID-19 now have serious long-term health problems.
- Bergamo was the worst affected area in Italy’s worst affected region, Lombardy. About 3,000 people died in Bergamo, with the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in thickness.
- In March, images from a shocking Sky News report were seen from inside the overwhelmed ICU worldwide.
- Dr. Roberto Cosentini, director of the ICU, told Sky News this week that “a significant portion of the population” has “chronic damage from the virus”
- He did not indicate how many were affected. Several studies have noted problems in patients who had COVID-19, but have not yet reached conclusions.
- Cosentini said it is clear that the virus affects a number of organs, including the kidneys and brain, not just the lungs.
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The head of intensive care at a hospital in northern Italy that was in the middle of the country’s outbreak says COVID-19 patients who have been given serious health problems that may never disappear.
Dr. Roberto Cosentini, head of the emergency department at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital in Bergamo, Lombardy, told Sky News “we see a significant portion of the population with chronic damage from the virus.”
Cosentini did not specify the percentage. Scientific studies have noted a number of serious conditions in patients with post-coronavirus, but have not yet finalized how widespread they are.
Scenes from Papa Giovanni XXIII in mid-March traveled around the world after a shocking video from his overwhelmed ICU was broadcast by Sky.
At that time, Bergamo was the first seriously affected area in Europe, and the images of the outbreak were a shocking insight into how bad the pandemic could be.
At one point, the Italian military arrived to ferry bodies to neighboring provinces as morgues in Bergamo flooded. The victims were temporarily stored in churches or sealed in the bedrooms where they died.
Cosentini, who appeared in the video in March, told Sky News this week: “At first we thought it was a bad flu, then we thought it was a bad flu with a very bad pneumonia.”
“But later we discovered that it is a systemic disease with vessel damage throughout the body with kidney involvement, cerebral involvement.”
“So we see other acute manifestations of kidney failure that require dialysis; or stroke, and then acute myocardial infarction, so many complications or other manifestations of the virus.”
The long-term health effects of the corona virus are unknown to some, but several trends are emerging.
Respiratory problems are regularly observed, which may include asthma with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and what some doctors call “post-COVID lung disease.”
A July 8 study from University College London observed delirium, rare brain inflammation and stroke in recovered COVID-19 patients.
Problems with the bowel, heart and kidneys are also common after recovery. Experts are also cautious about the effects on mental health of severely ill patients.
On July 8, the ICU at Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital said it finally had zero COVID-19 patients, more than four months after receiving its first patient on February 23.
Bergamo is the most affected province in the Lombardy region, which in itself is Italy’s worst affected.
As of Monday, 16,748 people had died in Lombardy, representing 50% of Italy’s total 34,954 deaths.
Bergamo authorities said on June 8 that a study had shown that more than 50% of people tested in the province have COVID-19 antibodies, according to Reuters.
Prosecutors in the province are currently investigating allegations of mistreatment, neglect, and inaccuracies made by health professionals brought by the families of the dead.
150 complaints describing how their relatives have been abused have so far been filed, according to the Associated Press.
And Italian health authorities are warning of a second wave.
“Although the locking measures made it possible to effectively control SARS-CoV-2 infection, the broad transmission of the virus persists when favorable conditions occur, causing outbreaks, including some of significant size,” the Health Ministry said on Monday, according to ANSA news agency.
“New cases of infection were diagnosed in almost all regions and autonomous provinces during the monitoring week from June 29 to July 5, with an increase in cases over the previous week in some areas.”