‘They choose the young’: Doctors left to pick who lives as Italy’s COVID-19 death toll tops China’s

‘They choose the young’: Doctors left to pick who lives as Italy’s COVID-19 death toll tops China’s

To say Italian doctors and nurses are risking their lives to treat coronavirus patients sounds like an exaggeration. But with 3,405 deaths reported throughout the country, topping China’s death toll of 3,245, it is simply a hard truth. Medical professionals are becoming victims of the quickly spreading COVID-19 strand of the coronavirus because they lack resources to shield them from the virus, according to CNN. Despite some signs that new cases of the virus in Italy’s red zone may be decreasing, experts aren’t relying on the trend.

The pandemic, which reached a peak in the Lombardy area of Italy’s northern region on Feb. 23, has acquired about 3,500 new cases each day in Italy, according to CNN. The virus’ quick spread is leaving residents fearing the devastation could spread down south, where fewer residents are following the country’s lockdown rules, CNN reported. Nearly 200,000 residents have been cited, and Dr. Giorgio Palù, former president of the European and Italian Society for Virology, told the news network the virus “has no border.” He is calling for a harsher lockdown.

“We should have done more diagnostic tests in Lombardy where there was a big nucleus,” Palù said. “There is no sense in trying to go to the supermarket once a week. You have to limit your time out, isolation is the key thing.” He even seems to support isolating people coming from China. “There was a proposal to isolate people coming from the epicenter, coming from China,” he told CNN. “Then it became seen as racist, but they were people coming from the outbreak.” And that’s where he lost me. Does it make sense to test people coming from the epicenter? Sure. But isolating them as some kind of knee-jerk reaction based on passport stamps or skin color is every bit as racist as it appears, and it’s exactly the kind of fear-ridden response that has both historically and recently fueled such racism in America. It was just Tuesday that CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang said a White House official called the coronavirus the “Kung-Flu.”  

This morning a White House official referred to #Coronavirus as the �Kung-Flu� to my face. Makes me wonder what they�re calling it behind my back.

— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) March 17, 2020

President Donald Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese Virus” in a tweet Wednesday, exactly the kind of xenophobia the World Health Organization warned against. “Viruses know no borders and they don’t care about your ethnicity, the color of your skin or how much money you have in the bank,” Dr. Mike Ryan, the executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergency program said at a news conference Wednesday. “So it’s really important we be careful in the language we use lest it lead to the profiling of individuals associated with the virus.”

I only signed the Defense Production Act to combat the Chinese Virus should we need to invoke it in a worst case scenario in the future. Hopefully there will be no need, but we are all in this TOGETHER!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020

Profiling gets us no closer to vaccination, and it doesn’t win us the kind of resources desperately needed to alleviate the medical community domestically and abroad. Chiara Bonini, a doctor who contracted the coronavirus from her boyfriend, was treated at Salvatore Hospital in L’Aquila and later tested negative for the virus, according to CNN. “In Lombardy, where I am from, the healthcare system has collapsed,” she told the news network and explained how doctors triage patients. “There just isn’t enough equipment. They choose the young, the medical rule of trying to save who has more probability to live.”

Dr. Alessandro Grimaldi, the doctor who treated Bonini, told CNN the only way to fight the virus is to find additional resources. “Maybe the government should have thought of this before, prepare better,” he told the news network. “But if you don’t see the emergency in front of you, you try to cut.” Grimaldi said until hospitals have more resources, doctors will continue to suffer. “We are soldiers that fight for our country,” he told CNN. “If we can end the epidemic here in Italy, we can stop the epidemic in Europe and the world.”

RELATED: ‘Why did you bring Corona to America?’ Asian Americans detail Trump-inspired xenophobic attacks

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