For synthesis needs, we will use numbers and not people. Those arriving from Alzano Lombardo and Nembro in the period between Sunday 23 February and 7 March demonstrate an almost exponential progression of deaths. The day before the official start date of the outbreak in the province of Bergamo, which soon became the deadliest in Europe, it took just a few hours to establish the red zone in the Lodi area, around Codogno, where the so-called patient one had just been discovered. In Italy, now far away from that last week of February, it almost seems that the most has been done. Incredible as it may seem today, at the exit of a tunnel lasting three months, at the beginning of the Italian tragedy of the coronavirus there was a time in which the Confindustria of Bergamo published a video, relaunched by the mayor Giorgio Gori, in which the city orobica was running, ran in spite of fears. And the same happened in Milan that does not stop, and elsewhere. Businesses and Lombard politics did not want any form of disruption of activities and social life. Just during the brief phase of optimism at any cost and against the evidence of the facts, the infection begins.
The new outbreak on February 27th
In the coronavirus report, sent daily by the Lombardy Region to the Civil Protection, already on February 27 the existence of a new outbreak of Covid-19 clearly emerges. In fact, 72 new cases of coronavirus positivity are recorded in the province of Bergamo. I am the fourth most affected municipality in Lombardy, like Casalpusterlengo which falls within the red zone, while Alzano seventh, with 8 infections. February 28th Marco Rizzi, head of the infectious diseases department of Pope John XXIII of Bergamo, the first to go against the current. The growth of the epidemic is very rapid, starting from an outbreak that developed from the hospital in Alzano. Intensive care and any other ward are already saturated. Containment measures are needed.
The infections on March 1st
His complaint falls on deaf ears. On March 1, the infections reached 43 in Nembro, 19 in Alzano. Still the next day, the Lombardy Welfare Councilor Giulio Gallera says he is against the establishment of a possible red zone, expressing serious doubts about its usefulness. as if for a long week there had been two parallel realities. While business and politics, including many local administrators in the area, were holding back on the possibility of urgent measures, hospitals in the province of Bergamo experienced a difficult drama even to tell. In those days the emergency room of Pope John XXIII looks like a field hospital. Dozens of patients with severe pneumonia, who gasp, on stretchers, in the corridors. The maxi-influx room is opened, intended for earthquakes and natural disasters, but it is not enough.
The Alzano case
In the end, facts prevail, as always. A massacre is underway in the province of Bergamo. But where did the infection start? Rizzi has already said it, now known. Strange things happen at Pesenti-Fenaroli in Alzano. Starting from the second half of February, at least five cases of deaths due to interstitial pneumonia are reported by the families of the victims. These are patients hospitalized in the ward, in the general medicine ward, open to all. On February 23, after the first two official coronavirus deaths, the medical director, under pressure from his doctors, decides to close the hospital. A few hours later, the Region orders the immediate reopening. From that moment, its officials will directly manage the hospital. The prosecutor of Bergamo had the Nas carabinieri seized all the medical records of that period, until 7 March. The hypothesis that there were at that time promiscuous hospitalizations between Covid patients and patients with other pathologies in at least three wards. Even after the temporary closure of the hospital, when differentiated paths were created, the separation would not have proved as impervious as it should have been.
The definition of the red areas
Lombardy’s first interlocution with the government, concerning the province of Bergamo, dates back to March 2. A few days of discussions followed during which President Fontana and his councilors will never ask for the establishment of a real red zone. As if the first step had to be taken by others. The Technical Scientific Committee that follows the emergency for the executive will take care of it. Experts propose to adopt the appropriate restrictive measures already in use in the Municipalities of the “Red Zone” in order to limit the spread of the infection in contiguous areas for the municipalities of Alzano Lombardo and Nembro, countries that have recorded cases attributable to a single transmission chain. the 3rd March, there is still no official decision. But the red zone looks like it’s done. On the evening of March 5 they arrive at the Verdellino Palace Hotel one hundred carabinieri of the Milan Regiment. Trucks and armored cars are parked in front of the hotel. We are ready they say. Two hundred kilometers away, at the Continental in Osio Sotto, there are another hundred policemen. Then eighty Army soldiers, and another fifty financiers. Everything is ready for the red zone. The order will never arrive. Alzano Lombardo and Nembro will become the red zone only on March 9th. Together with the rest of Lombardy and Italy.
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