Roberto Tonelli was busy planning his September wedding ceremony, when the coronavirus pandemic hit his city of Modena, in Northern Italy. Quickly, he and his fiancé, Ivana Castaniere, had been discussing air flow parameters as an alternative of flower preparations.
“We first met within the hospital,” Tonelli, 31, tells TIME on the finish of a shift. “She was my boss!” Lately, they work as pulmonologists on the identical hospital aspect by aspect, 6 days every week, not less than 14 hours a day.
Because the weeks go on, docs and nurses are more and more bearing the brunt of the nation’s combat in opposition to the unfold of the virus. In Italy, greater than 4,000 docs and nurses have been contaminated, representing nearly 8% of instances in Italy, in keeping with the Italian Nationwide Institute of Well being. Typically, these on the frontlines are romantic companions. “The worst a part of that is that you simply don’t need the particular person you like to see what you’re seeing,” he says. “However not less than her face is the very first thing I see once I take away my PPE.”
In small cities throughout Italy, it’s not solely docs who’re associated. Typically, sufferers who enter the ICU come from the identical household.
“Our first sufferers in Modena had been two brothers,” says Castaniere. They just lately hospitalized a 13-year-old lady. Just a few days later, her dad was wheeled into the ICU.
Tonelli’s sufferers typically preserve their telephones with them to speak with their family members. They learn the information and so they see the casualty charges. “They ask me, will I die?” he says. “I by no means mislead my sufferers. I inform them, “we’re preventing this collectively.”
Tonelli and his fiancé have a 2-year-old daughter who’s at the moment staying with grandparents. They haven’t seen her in over a month.
“I hope that when she grows up, she’ll contemplate us her heroes,” says Castaniere.”I hope she’ll perceive.”
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