Hospital workers fighting Italy’s spiralling coronavirus pandemic are overworked and dispirited, a doctor on the front line of the crisis reported Thursday. “We are feeling bad, very bad,” Doctor Claudio Zanon, head of the Valduce hospital in the northern province of Como, said in a video conference with the Foreign Press Association. “Unlike during the first wave, health staff are frustrated, demotivated, stressed, in burnout,” he said. “There is general dejection, which is not helping in the fight against the epidemic.” The Valduce no longer has any free beds, including in its intensive care department, and is making do without 70 of its 600 doctors and nurses because they have been infected with the virus, Zanon said. On Wednesday, Zanon ordered the closure of the hospital’s emergency room, meaning that it no longer accepts ambulances, as it was already full with around 30 people waiting for a hospital bed.
Como, along with Monza, Varese and Milan, is one of the provinces of the wealthy northern region of Lombardy worst hit by the second wave of the coronavirus. Zanon said the situation was as critical as it was earlier this year in Bergamo, a past epicentre of the pandemic that came to be known as “Italy’s Wuhan.” On Wednesday, Italy’s overall virus infections count surpassed 1 million, while the daily death toll soared to 623, the highest since early April. However, there were signs of a flattening curve, possibly thanks to recent government measures. Daily infections were down to around 33,000, from a peak of almost 40,000 on November 7.