Italy reaches grim coronavirus milestone as 100th doctor dies of the disease
- At least 100 Italian doctors have died of coronavirus, a medical federation said
- Italian media estimates 30 nurses and nursing assistants also died of COVID-19
- Toll includes retired doctors who voluntarily returned during the virus outbreak
The coronavirus death toll among Italian doctors reached 100 today as four more physicians died in the past 24 hours.
The Italian doctors’ federation, FNOMCEO, said that the figure could even be as high as 101.
Italian media reports estimate that 30 nurses and nursing assistants have also died of COVID-19.
The toll includes retired doctors who had voluntarily returned to work during the outbreak.
A FNOMCEO spokesman said: ‘The number of doctors who have died because of COVID-19 is 100 – perhaps even 101 at the moment, unfortunately.’
A medical staff member tending to a patient suffering from the coronavirus in the intensive care unit at the Circolo hospital in Varese, Italy, today
They were among some 8,000 medical staff to volunteer last month for an emergency coronavirus task force.
Some hospitals in Lombardy and other badly-hit areas are struggling with half as many staff as needed to treat the number of patients being admitted, Il Messeggero reported.
According to official figures most of these victims worked in and around Lombardy, the region at the centre of the Italian outbreak – although doctors have also died further south in Le Marche, Campania, Sicily and Puglia.
In total 13,121 healthcare workers have contracted the new coronavirus in Italy, according to the latest count by the Italian Higher Health Institute (ISS).
‘We can longer allow our doctors, our health workers, to be sent to fight without any protection against the virus,’ FNOMCeO president Filippo Anelli said on the association’s website.
The Italian doctors’ federation, FNOMCEO, said today that the number of doctors in the country who had died of coronavirus could be as high as 101
Rome’s ISS public health institute estimates that 10 per cent of those infected with the novel coronavirus in Italy work in health care.
It has emerged the pandemic has a huge emotional and psychological toll on the doctors and nurses working on the frontline.
Already, two nurses in Italy have killed themselves, and psychologists have mobilized therapists and online platforms to provide free consultation for medical personnel.
Yesterday Italian authorities announced they would begin screening doctors for signs of coronavirus immunity.
The northern regions of Veneto and Emilia-Romagna are hoping to issue ‘licences’ to return to work for people who are shown to be immune, but officials admit that the antibody tests may not work.
Italy’s total official death toll is at 17,669 as of Thursday evening.
The country has begun to contemplate an end to the lockdown after a slowdown in new infections.