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‘The pressure is heavy’: Italy’s ICU doctors dispute government claim hospitals are coping with Covid
Doctors have spoken out after the Italian government's coronavirus commissioner claimed that the country's intensive care units are not under pressure.
Published: 17 November 2020 14:43 CET
Medical staff at work in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for Covid-19 patients at Rome's San Filippo Neri hospital. AFP
The Covid-19 emergency is putting “almost unbearable” strain on intensive care units (ICUs) in high-risk red zones, ICU doctors said on Tuesday, denying a claim by Italy's COVID commissioner, Domenico Arcuri, that they are not struggling.
IN GRAPHS: Track the spread of coronavirus in every region of Italy
“it has been stated that the pressure on intensive care is sustainable, but in fact in the red regions the pressure is almost unsustainable, and in the orange ones it is very, very heavy,” said Antonio Giarratano, head of the ICU doctors association SIAARTI, on Italian TV channel Rai Tre.
He said “claiming that 10,000 ventilators can ensure a sufficient margin to sustain this exponential growth in intensive-care admissions means thinking that it is enough to turn on a ventilator to save a life.”
“Sadly, that is not so.”
The comments came after commissioner Arcuri on Monday denied reports that Italy was running out of intensive-care places because of the number of coronavirus patients.
“In March we had 5,000 ICU places,” Arcuri said. “At the peak (of the emergency) we had 7,000 patients in intensive care, 2,000 more than capacity.
“Today we have around 10,000 places in intensive care and we'll reach 11,300 next month.
“At the moment there are some 3,300 (COVID patients) in intensive care so there isn't pressure on these departments”.
Several prominent Italian health experts have pointed out this week that an intensive care unit requires more specialist staff, as well as more beds and ventilators.
Suggerimento: se volete una prova di quanti letti in più di terapia intensiva sono stati aperti non chiedete se sono stati comprati 4000 ventilatori in più. Chiedete se sono stati assunti 4000 intensivisti e 10000 infermieri di area critica in più. La risposta sarà diversa.
— Maurizio Cecconi ?????? ICU & Anaesthesia (@DrMCecconi) November 16, 2020
“Don't ask if 4,000 extra ventilators have been bought. Ask if 4,000 specialists and 10,000 more critical area nurses were hired. The answer will be different.,” tweeted Maurizio Cecconi, an Anaesthesia & ICU specialist in Milan.
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Italian monkeypox cases rise to ten
Monkeypox infections have now been confirmed in four Italian regions, Italian health authorities said on Thursday.
Published: 26 May 2022 15:51 CEST
The total number of Italian monkeypox cases rose to ten on Thursday with the discovery of the first case in the Emilia-Romagna region.
There have now been five cases detected the Lazio region, which are being treated in Rome, plus three in Lombardy, and one each in Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna.
READ ALSO: How is Italy dealing with rising monkeypox cases?
“There is no alarm, but the infection surveillance system is at a state of maximum attention,” Lazio’s regional health councillor Alessio D’Amato told the Ansa news agency after the seventh case was reported on Wednesday.
Researchers at Rome’s Spallanzani hospital for infectious diseases said the new cases are thought to be “part of a pan-European cluster” linked to cases in the Canary Islands, Ansa reported.
The first Italian case of monkey smallpox, or monkeypox, was also found in a man who had recently returned from the Canary Islands, doctors said last Thursday.
On Thursday morning the Italian health ministry published guidance on dealing with outbreaks of monkeypox as case numbers continued to rise across Europe.
More than 250 monkeypox cases have now been reported in at least 16 countries where the virus isn’t endemic, according to the World Health Organization.
They are mostly in Spain, the UK and Portugal, with single-digit cases in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as Italy.
READ ALSO: What is Spain doing to deal with rising monkeypox cases?
The illness has infected thousands of people in parts of Central and Western Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and North Africa.
Monkeypox is known to spread via close contact with an animal or human with the virus. It can be transmitted via bodily fluids, lesions, respiratory droplets or through contaminated materials, such as bedding.
Its symptoms are similar but somewhat milder than those of smallpox: fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, chills, exhaustion, although it also causes the lymph nodes to swell up.
Within one to three days, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. 
Although most monkeypox cases aren’t serious, studies have shown that one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa die from it.
The unprecedented outbreak of the monkeypox virus has put the international community on alert.
On Monday, the European Union urged member states to take steps to ensure positive cases, close contacts, and even pets be quarantined as this is a zoonotic virus (a virus that spreads from animals to humans).
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