In the map of contagions in Lombardy, with the numbers updating hour by hour, there is a before and an after. It is 18.30 yesterday evening when all certainty collapses. And from Lombardy to Veneto the mystery deepens because in both regions the hunt for “zero patients” is essential, to stem the outbreaks. Until 18.30 the expansion of the coronavirus in Lombardy, although with a diffusion speed that surprises the experts themselves, is limited to a radius of 30 kilometers around Codogno and its hospital. Doctors, nurses, family members and friends, in short, all the sick are connected to each other. He is in the town of 16 thousand inhabitants in the Lodi area where “Patient one” goes to dinner with his manager friend returning from Shanghai on February 1, drinks a beer at the Casalpusterlengo pub on the 4th, and is visited by the family doctor on 17 and above all enters the emergency room twice on the 18th and 19th.
The new scenario
After 18.30 the scenario changes dramatically. The coronavirus arrives at San Raffaele in Milan, the capital of Italian health care, with a thousand beds for 15 thousand people every day, including five thousand workers. A man from Sesto San Giovanni has been hospitalized here for a week. For the epidemiologists of the ASL of Milan and of the Department of Health led by Giulio Gallera now the new challenge is to understand the evolution of the chain of infections, fundamental to adopt the containment measures of the virus: “There is no connection. He is an elderly man who has never been to Codogno “, is the voice that rebounds late in the evening from the Crisis Unit in the Region where practically nobody has been sleeping for 36 hours. And there is also a contagion in Mediglia, at the southern gates of Milan: a 71 year old whose contacts are still to be reconstructed.
The sequence of contagions
Still 6.30pm yesterday. It is always around that time that the hope of having identified the “Patient zero”, the 41-year-old returning from Shanghai, definitively collapses: the analyzes of the Higher Institute of Health do not find any antibody that can suggest that man have contracted the virus even without any flu manifestations. The mystery thickens. Only a few hours have passed since the press conference with Governor Attilio Fontana when the reconstruction of the chain of infection appears clear, yet it seems an era ago. The sequence of connected cases is interrupted. The 76-year-old retired woman from Casalpusterlengo, who died on 20 February and tested positive for the post-mortem test, went to the emergency room in Codogno for a respiratory crisis, precisely on the days when “Patient one” was visited, on 38 year old first found positive for the virus. An intersection in all probability resulted fatal to the pensioner. The two hospitalized in the Cremona hospital: the 38-year-old woman residing in Sesto ed Uniti attends a Codogno nurse. She, in turn, infects a friend of Pizzighettone, always in the Cremonese area, 10 kilometers away.
The chain is broken
The couple of doctors infected with Pieve Porto Morone: she a pediatrician, he a family doctor with surgeries in Guardamiglio and San Rocco al Porto between the Basso Lodigiano and the Pavese. The woman goes to make a plate at the Codogno hospital on February 18. Then it infects the partner. Both are hospitalized in the infectious diseases department of San Matteo. Then there is the group of young people stuck in Valtellina, a boy is positive for coronavirus: but all of them always come from Codogno. In short, for 45 infected – they reiterate in the Region – the link with the Lodigiano is ascertained. Including the brother-in-law of “Patient zero”, also from the area. But, with the patient of San Raffaele, that of Mediglia and the sudden new hunt for “Patient zero”, the chain is interrupted. And let’s go back at 18.30 yesterday evening.
The derby in a bar in Vo ‘Euganeo
From Lombardy to the 17 cases of Veneto, the reconstruction of the chain of infections is always at the center of the experts’ work and there are many questions too. Who infected Mira’s 78-year-old Adriano Trevisan, the first Italian coronavirus death? On February 9, the man watches the Inter-Milan derby at the New Inn in the sun of Vo ‘Euganeo together with 8 Chinese, two recently returned from China and all now subjected to the swab test. And the 68-year-old from Mira, in intensive care, no contact with Chinese people and never been to Vo ‘, what does that have to do with it? Obviously, without the origin of the infections, it is even more difficult to decide what to do to contain the virus.
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