The Corner

World

A Cruel Disease

Relatives attend the funeral of a woman who died from coronavirus, Seriate, Italy, March 28, 2020. (Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters)

There’s still much we don’t know about COVID-19, but one reason Italy has been so hard hit is probably because Italians of all generations spend a lot of time together. Households have been a major vector of spread. So the virus uses natural human gatherings as a way to jump from one person to another. Then, if the infected get very sick, they are isolated to die alone, with no one holding their hands, talking to them, singing to them, or praying for them, while they are surrounded by strangers dressed in spacesuits.

A doctor at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens described this in an interview with Buzzfeed:

The patients are all silent. Because they are being intubated and in medically induced comas. Normally patients this sick are surrounded by family, who are talking to you and asking questions, concerned, crying. But there’s no visitors allowed in the hospital now so these people are dying alone. There’s this awful quietness. This mechanical hiss, in and out, back and forth, of the ventilator.

It’s heartbreaking to think of the families losing loved ones this way.

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