sunny.png
Monday March 8th, 2021 10:41AM

New Year comes to COVID ward, with hope for end to nightmare

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ROME (AP) — While the world said goodbye — or good riddance — to 2020, a year in which the pandemic brought hardship and pain to billions, some of those who have been fighting the virus on the front lines soldiered on even as the clock passed midnight.

At the Casalpalocco Covid 3 Hospital on the outskirts of Rome doctors and nurses barely seemed to register the new year as they tended to 100 patients struggling with serious to critical illness as a result of coronavirus infections.

In one intensive care ward, all but one of a dozen beds were occupied. Medical staff calmly tended to patients lying in dimly lit rooms, dispensed medication, checked respiratory machines and filled in medical records.

“This particular one (New Year’s Eve) is a surreal night, as was Christmas, as will be the Epiphany, as was the past Easter and all the other holidays,” said Dr. Paolo Petrassi, the night shift coordinator. “They are, let’s say, holidays detached from what was the real world once, as we have known it forever.”

The 53-year-old recounted the experience now familiar to so many in the medical profession worldwide who have had to treat COVID patients: having to constantly monitor patients and manage their condition, with each having their own set of complicated problems.

Over 83 million infections with the coronavirus have been confirmed worldwide, and over 1.8 million deaths. Along with the elderly, medical staff have been particularly hard hit, struggling to save patients even as their own colleagues have fallen ill with a disease almost nobody could have imagined a year ago.

“It was all unexpected," Petrassi told The Associated Press.

Italy was the early epicenter of the pandemic in Europe in the spring. Images of Italian nurses and doctors, exhausted as they briefly removed their protective gear, became a grim portent of what would happen to their colleagues in Spain, France, the United States and elsewhere, months later.

Last month, after a summer in which Italy seemed to have beaten back the scourge, it again became the country with the highest death toll in Europe. And once more, the grim reality was reflected in the eyes of Italy's medical staff.

“Now we are almost reaching the 12 months of this pandemic and unfortunately we still don’t have the possibility to say it’s over," said Petrassi. "We only have the hope of the mass vaccination that, we hope, will contribute to control this ominous phenomenon.”

European regulators approved the first vaccine shortly before Christmas. Countries across the European Union began administering the shots on Dec. 27, but it will be a long time before a sizeable number of the bloc's 450 million inhabitants are immunized.

Experts say at least 60-70% of the population need to be vaccinated to prevent the virus from getting a foothold.

Petrassi hopes the nightmare of COVID will end soon.

“We all live in uncertainty, but at the same time we hope, and we are all doing our best,” he said. “We are using all of our professional and physical resources, our knowledge, our conscience, giving up time with our families, ours and our beloved ones’ free time.”

“We are investing all this so that all these efforts will not be in vain.”

___

Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccines and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP World News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Quiet New Year gives breathing room after UK-EU Brexit split
A steady trickle of trucks is rolling off ferries and trains at either end of the English Channel after a seismic overnight shift in relations between the European Union and Britain
7:43AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Iraq team working to 'neutralize' mine found on oil tanker
Iraqi security forces say one of their explosives-handling teams is working to neutralize a “large” mine discovered on an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and evacuate its crew
7:40AM ( 9 minutes ago )
New Year comes to COVID ward, with hope for end to nightmare
While the world said goodbye — or good riddance — to a pandemic-ridden 2020, nurses and doctors fighting the virus on the front lines soldiered on even as the clock passed midnight
7:36AM ( 14 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
EU avoided chaos, explored new paths in turbulent 2020 year
Between the specter of Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and a new leadership team facing a budget battle and bitterness over immigration, the European Union looked set to remember 2020 as an “annus horribilis.”
3:06AM ( 4 hours ago )
Bomb-sniffing dogs? Check. Times Square crowd? Not this year
The revelry and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds that typify Times Square on New Year’s Eve were replaced by empty streets and an eerie quiet as the final moments of 2020 ticked away
1:34AM ( 6 hours ago )
Shutdown, impeachment, virus: Chaotic Congress winds down
Congress is ending a chaotic session with a rare rebuff by Republicans of President Donald Trump
12:25AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP National News
Top General short headlines
Asia Today: 2 Chinese airports requiring virus test results
Two major airports in northeastern China are requiring departing passengers show a negative coronavirus test taken over the previous 72 hours before they can board their planes
3:40AM ( 4 hours ago )
Brazil scrambles to approve virus vaccine as pressure mounts
Brazil, a nation proud of its role as a regional leader in science, technology and medicine, finds itself falling behind its neighbors in the global race for immunization against a pandemic that has already killed nearly 200,000 of its people
12:01AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Health
Quiet New Year gives breathing room after UK-EU Brexit split
A steady trickle of trucks is rolling off ferries and trains at either end of the English Channel after a seismic overnight shift in relations between the European Union and Britain
7:43AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Iraq team working to 'neutralize' mine found on oil tanker
Iraqi security forces say one of their explosives-handling teams is working to neutralize a “large” mine discovered on an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf and evacuate its crew
7:40AM ( 9 minutes ago )
'Our children die in our hands': Floods ravage South Sudan
On a scrap of land surrounded by flooding in South Sudan, families drink and bathe from the waters that swept away latrines and continue to rise
7:05AM ( 44 minutes ago )
UK in 'eye of the storm' amid surging new coronavirus cases
British medics are warning that hospitals around the country face a perilous few weeks amid surging new coronavirus infections that have been blamed on a new variant of the virus
6:22AM ( 1 hour ago )
Report: Ethiopian forces killed scores in June-July unrest
A new report says Ethiopian security forces killed more than 75 people and injured nearly 200 during deadly unrest in June and July after the killing of a popular singer
5:39AM ( 2 hours ago )