In Turin, Italy the coronavirus outbreak has affected the lives of many especially healthcare workers like Annalisa Baldi,age 34. She works in one of Italy's hospitals and nothing but death, pain, and anxiety are the companions of nurses like her. Every day, she goes to work at 5 AM in the Cremona hospital, southeast of Milan, in Lombardy where the virus took it is first victims.
Each day she garbs to meet death as she put on her complete battle gear - her uniform, and surgical mask. The young nurse has to wear her gear or be she will be one with hopeless patients.
Washing her hands carefully with hospital grade sanitizer, she dons here protective suit over her uniform, and final pulls here gloves on the last part of her battle dress.
Annalisa told Al Jazeera, that her gloves are like second skin, she washes them like crazy to keep them sterile. More gloves are added through her shirt for more layers of assurance.
She carries two masks, one for her and another as protection for patients, added to her gear are scuba diving goggles, with a cap to complete her battle dress.
Activities for the day
Annalisa is a frontliner where many health workers have succumbed. But like everyone else, she intends to survive. Her war for today has several patients of various ages from 50 to 70 years old, some younger patients too.
She adds that the virus is not limited to older people with complication. Her hospital is where the worst cases go.
At 5:30 AM, the medical personnel starts working in wards.
Drawing blood, watching patient's oxygen levels, giving meds and doing tasks given by doctors are just part of her daily life. Other hospital personnel in intensive care and X-ray testing are being taken cared of so no patient dies.
Part of the hospital's SOP is to avoid personal contact with patients, if possible.
Her job is to get things done to help patients with high fever, and oxygen support. These are the only patients allowed to stay in the hospital. There are 69,176 cases and 6,820 dead as of this writing in Italy.
Other activities of a frontliner nurse
All high respiratory rates and hard breathing, and arterial blood gas tests are needed to see how oxygenated one's blood is.
Patients can get worse. When they cannot breathe well, intubation for COVID-19 will be given for 20 days, or shorter if they expire.
At some point, Annalisa Baldi had the coronavirus and never knew she had it because she did not get the symptoms.
The frontline of medical personal have gotten infected. In fact, their numbers is more than China's infected and death toll for coronavirus.
If really checked, the total number of infected medical personnel will paralyze many hospitals, and make it hard to stop the coronavirus.
What another medical professional thinks
Enrico is a hospital specialist in coronavirus ward. Like Baldi, he thinks he had the virus but with few symptoms. Many medics in hospitals are now given sufficient protective gear to keep them from getting infected.
He said that the coronavirus can take many paths, some will live and others "will be like candles that start flickering," then fade out slowly. Critical patients will go no further, but will end up gasping for air while dying alone.
He also said that patients are afraid as they die alone. Many of them call for their families which is not allowed to avoid the spread of the virus.
With a glimmer of hope, he noted that 8,000 were already cured out of the 70,000 cases in Italy.
Enrico and Annalisa, along with many other frontliners are tired.
Until their dance with the coronavirus is done, the medical workers of Italy's hospitals will continue to see death, pain, and anxiety in the coming days.