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a year ago, Laura is greeted And the Analisa Malara – Both doctors at Codogno Hospital in Lombardy, Italy – had a different intuition about a patient in an intensive care ward.

According to Reuters reports, their decision to take matters into their own hands ended up triggering a national emergency – they had identified the first case of Covid-19 in the area that would become Europe’s first closed zone.

A 38-year-old man, now known as Mattia, or his first name, or “Patient One”, went to the hospital with a high fever, cough and shortness of breath on February 18, 2020. He refused to accept so I was given antibiotics and went home.

That evening returned in worse condition and was put on oxygen. Two days later, Mattia’s wife told the doctors that a few weeks earlier he had gone to dinner with a colleague who had been in China.

But Mattia did not comply with national standards for mandatory testing for coronavirus because it was not in China personally.

“I had to explain many times why I wanted to do this [a Covid-19 swab] Anyway, Malara told Reuters.

Dr. Annalisa Malara

Dr Annalisa Malara Photo: Luca Bruno / AP

“Doctor Malara and I decided to break the protocol,” Ricevuti recalls. They took the nasal swab and sent it to a laboratory in Milan.

The phone rang at 9:30 pm. The test was positive. Ricevuti said:

We couldn’t believe it. We thought this was a very distant issue and it had something to do with China, but it was really there with us, and not just from February 20 but maybe much earlier.

In the days following Codogno, which had a population of 15,000, the “capital” became the first “red zone” in Europe to be closed down. Malara said:

At first I had hoped – we all hoped – that the virus would be limited to a few people. However, after a few hours, many people came to the emergency room with the same symptoms and after a few days it turned out to be spread among the population.

Laura Rikivotti, one of the doctors who diagnosed the first case of Covid-19 for an Italian patient

Laura Recivotti, one of the doctors who diagnosed the first case of Covid-19 in an Italian patient.Photo: Flavio Lo Scalzo / Reuters

Since then, 95,000 people have died in Italy, the second-highest toll in Europe after the United Kingdom and the seventh highest in the world. The two doctors are still treating Covid-19 patients. Ricevuti said:

This is our mission. We can’t really hold back. Day after day, we are progressing and facing the difficulties and changes that life offers us … You need a lot of physical and mental strength.


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