His death has brought renewed attention to how vulnerable paramedics are in the current scenario as they face a high risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
A 47-year-old paramedic became one of Italy's youngest coronavirus victims this weekend. Diego Bianco passed away overnight on Friday at his home in Montello, Lombardy, which he shared with his wife and their 8-year-old son. The healthcare specialist, who worked for the Italian emergency ambulance service in the northern region of Italy, was confirmed to have been infected on Thursday after suffering from a high temperature from March 7. His death has brought renewed attention to how vulnerable paramedics are in the current scenario as they face a high risk of being exposed to COVID-19 during their shifts.
According to Daily Mail, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Bianco's emergency service operations center was sanitized immediately after he was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. Some of his colleagues have also been instructed to self-isolate after they, too, displayed symptoms associated with the virus. The situation is being handled with extreme care as the northern region of Italy—where Bianco worked—has seen over 1,200 deaths from more than 11,600 cases of the pandemic. The deceased paramedic's colleagues claimed he was medically fine before his death and that his occupation required his health to be "constantly monitored."
Paramedics are one of the highest at risk of infection of any profession. #Paramedics are facing higher risks of exposure than any other emergency service. It's a dangerous job. #Respect #NeverOffDuty #COVIDー19 https://t.co/IZKbqFIXSL— Send Paramedics (@Send_Paramedics) March 16, 2020
One of Bianco's colleagues, Davide Brescancin, urged officials to protect paramedics as they risk exposure to COVID-19 during their shifts. "The thing that worries us the most is the carelessness with which rescue workers are abandoned to their destiny," he said. According to Mirror, Brescancin added that rescuers—who are constantly exposed to the virus—are not safe. "We don't know where Diego contracted the virus, we are all wondering the same. Maybe he was not infected at work, yet there are some factories that intend to reopen tomorrow pending medical supplies," he continued.
Fire fighters and paramedics are preparing to help their communities deal with #coronavirus. You can help - when you call 9-1-1 make sure you let the call taker know if you or anyone in the house has flu-like symptoms. It will help responders prepare. https://t.co/2vUmlLUPDN— DougWStern (@DougWStern) March 13, 2020
"But the fast and terrible end of Diego could happen to many of us (unfortunately many others have already died) if we do not immediately close everything, establish a quarantine income and stop all types of production," Brescancin warned. Speaking of the recent tragedy, Riccardo Germani—a spokesman for health union ADL Cobas Lombardia—said: "Diego was a trained worker, a rescuer who has always used personal protective equipment, was not elderly and did not have any other diseases. He was one of the 700 health workers, doctors, nurses and rescuers who have already been infected." According to Metro, Bianco is believed to be the second-youngest individual to die of the virus in Italy. A 38-year-old man is thought to be the youngest.
Chilling.— Antonello Guerrera (@antoguerrera) March 14, 2020
Almost 10 pages of death notices in yesterday’s edition of “L’Eco di Bergamo”, local paper of Bergamo, one of the Lombardy towns most hit by #coronavirus #Covid19 in #Italy.
Normally, they are 1 or 1 &1/2 pages. pic.twitter.com/Hn1wYui8Yy
Meanwhile, speaking to the Italian newspaper L'Eco di Bergamo, Bianco's wife Maruska Capoferri reportedly revealed that a few hours before his death, he'd told her not to worry. "You can go to sleep, my dear, I am not going to die. I just need to find a comfortable position to fall asleep," he is said to have told her. The couple is said to have slept in separate rooms since the beginning of his symptoms, and when Capoferri returned to check on her husband at around 5.30 a.m., his condition had begun deteriorating.
"Go to sleep darling, it's not like I'm going to die, I just have to find a comfy position to get back to sleep"— Naomi O'Leary (@NaomiOhReally) March 15, 2020
The last words of ambulance worker Diego Bianco, 46, to his wife, before he died at home of Covid-19 Coronavirus after taking ill on Wednesdayhttps://t.co/84pW9J5Il7
Capoferri, who volunteers for the Red Cross in Seriate, Bergamo, revealed that after her husband experienced breathing troubles and then a heart attack, she gave him a heart massage while waiting for the emergency services to arrive. Although paramedics arrived 20 minutes later and did their best to save Bianco, he passed away. Capoferri stated that her husband, who had previously worked in a care home, devoted his whole life to helping others, adding that "it was his mission."
Italian paramedic dies from coronavirus after helping victims in country's hard-hit Lombardy region https://t.co/ILLwano7gR— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) March 16, 2020
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