COMMITMENT


They're images we'll never forget and which, despite causing us pain, have made us proud.

Images of hospitals such as the Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo, which for weeks held the unenviable title of the city with the highest number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the entire world. Here, in the intensive care units and the ER departments converted into sub-intensive care units for the emergency, doctors and paramedics worked flat out, with 20-hour shifts, to help an unimaginable number of patients, as they tried to save their lives.


Images of doctors and nurses called to work in facilities created from almost nothing in record times, unique examples of flexibility and creativity in response to the pandemic seen nowhere else in the world. Take, for example, the cruise ship in Genoa which was transformed into a genuine floating hospital in just 48 hours and capable of taking hundreds of patients (and relieving the stress on land-based facilities). Or the many hotels which were converted into health facilities to accommodate Covid patients who, having been discharged from hospital but still testing positive, were unable to return home as they posed a threat to their families.

And the images of all those who, day and night, were on the front line in the fight against the virus: emergency service workers, soldiers building field hospitals, Civil Protection and Italian Red Cross staff and the volunteers with organisations that continued to help and offer comfort to the homeless, the poor, the most deprived members of society that the emergency threatened to send to an even darker place.



Bergamo, Covid-19 patients in the intensive care unit of the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, in the days when the number of new patients put the facility's ability to respond under serious strain.

Cremona, the tents are disinfected in the field hospital built by the American NGO Samaritan's Purse.

Bollate (Milan). Fabio Masulli, an employee of Vivisol, the Sol Group company specialised in homecare health assistance, delivers a tank of oxygen to Livio Soffia, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In Trespiano, near Florence in central Italy, a column of military trucks escorted by the Carabinieri transports coffins to the crematorium. The bodies come from northern Italy, in particular from Bergamo and Brescia. In some towns and cities, the number of deaths is so high that the local authorities are unable to cope: it is therefore necessary to transfer the corpses to other parts of the country, in order to cremate them.

A drawing by a child thanking the ambulance volunteers.

On 18 March, the Winter Garden, a four-star hotel just a stone’s throw from Bergamo airport, made its facilities available to Covid-19 patients who had been discharged from hospital, but who still tested positive. They need to wait before going home so as to be absolutely certain of not posing a threat to their families. A physiotherapist with patients during the daily rehab sessions.

Milan, San Raffaele Hospital: workers are preparing a new IC unit paid for by a public campaign.

Milan, the van belonging to the charity Ronda della Carità e Solidarietà is parked and ready to provide assistance to the city’s homeless.

Milan, San Raffaele Hospital, model Anne Christensen has just given birth to a baby daughter, Audrey. With her are the midwife, her partner Iaki Calcagnile (a cook) and Prof. Massimo Candiani, Head of the Gynecology and Obstetrics ward (right).

Piacenza, the field hospital built by the Italian Army.

Genoa. A doctor wearing complete PPE checks on a patient on board the MV Splendid, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital.

At the Anselmo da Baggio public showers in Milan, the custodian welcomes users of the free service, taking their names and offering them a wash kit.

Italy, Milan, Elisa, Michela and Antonio, volunteers from the charity SOS Milano on their evening rounds to help the city’s homeless.

Bergamo, the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Covid-19 patients in the ER, which was converted into a Coronavirus patient ward to cope with the huge number of patients during the peak days of the epidemic.

Volunteers from the Red Cross in Loano (Savona), from emergencies to breaks to serving the community. From the left: Sam, a volunteer who worked every night throughout the pandemic. Temporary volunteers join the permanent members to help decontaminate the Red Cross base. Isabella, a Red Cross staff member, during a moment of rest in an ambulance.

Piacenza, in the field hospital built by the Italian Army.

The experimentation phase for the collection of hyperimmune plasma was launched on 17 March 2020, at the San Matteo Hospital in Pavia. The plasma was donated by patients who'd recovered from Covid-19 and is being used as a treatment for the infection. Vanessa Modica, 37, a nurse in the Covid-19 ward at the Hospital says: “I found myself donating hyperimmune plasma to help the patients whom I'd seen suffer. I'd seen them intubated and I'd seen them deteriorate, and doing this gave even more meaning to my work”.

Elisabetta, a manager of the Caritas centre in Piazza SS Annunziata, Florence, tells people that the daily food handouts are ready. We're in full lockdown and many people in need come here every day to get lunch.

Milan, radiologist and GP Tjen Tu-Van, who moved to Italy in 1979 from Vietnam, volunteers two days a week at the Anselmo da Baggio public showers.

Jeunesse Kgninga, a young Cameroonian volunteer from Baranzate (near Milan), delivering food items to families in need.

Sanitisation workers at a company (in Sant'Egidio del Monte Albino, near Salerno) that makes metal containers for food.

Bergamo, a Covid-19 patient in the intensive care unit of the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, in the days when the number of new patients put the facility's ability to respond under serious strain.

In the trade fair exhibition centre in Bergamo, the Alpini National Association is planning a new hospital together with the Italian NGO Emergency.

Bollate (near Milan). Fabio Masulli, an employee of Vivisol, the Sol Group company specialised in homecare health assistance, has just delivered a tank of oxygen to Livio Soffia, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Genoa. Nurse Giulia Bellantonio, who has just finished her shift in the high-risk infection patient ward, is in the complex process of removing her PPE on board the MV Splendid, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital.

On 18 March, the Winter Garden, a four-star hotel just a stone’s throw from Bergamo airport, made its facilities available to Covid-19 patients who had been discharged from hospital, but who still tested positive. They need to wait before going home so as to be absolutely certain of not posing a threat to their families. A physiotherapist accompanies a patient to the room used for the daily rehab sessions.

Cremona, preparing the field hospital designed by the American NGO Samaritan's Purse.

Milan. Davide, a volunteer for the charity Ronda della Carità e Solidarietà, uses the computer to record the number of sleeping bags that have been distributed.

Olsi, a young Albanian, helps parish priest Don Paolo with a variety of useful tasks around the church grounds, like pruning olive trees in the adjacent garden.

On 3 May, the Winter Garden, a four-star hotel just a stone’s throw from Bergamo airport, which has made its facilities available to welcome Covid-19 veteran patients who had been discharged from hospitals, still accommodates 93 people. As every Sunday, Father Cristiano Re celebrates mass for them in the hotel's internal garden.

Milan, San Raffaele Hospital. A midwife congratulates model Anne Christensen, who has just given birth to a baby daughter, Audrey.

Fontanella (Bergamo). Military personnel from Russia's special biological unit conducting operations to decontaminate the Fondazione Domus E.D.E.R.A. care home. It was one of the numerous activities carried out in the Bergamo area as part of Moscow’s “From Russia with Love” operation to provide international assistance during the pandemic emergency in northern Italy.

Milan, in the evening volunteers from the Fondazione Progetto Arca take food to people in need.

The experimentation phase for the collection of hyperimmune plasma was launched on 17 March 2020, at the San Matteo Hospital in Pavia. The plasma was donated by patients who'd recovered from Covid-19 and is being used as a treatment for the infection. Marco Pialorsi, 52, a geologist for the municipality of Milan says: “I left hospital after 20 days, I read that an experiment was being launched and I put myself forward immediately. It was the least I could do. During those days in hospital, all my colleagues from work were with me, supporting me with loads of messages”.

Bergamo, the triage room of the Giovanni XXIII Hospital, in the days when the number of new patients put the facility's ability to respond under serious strain.

Desio (near Milan), Silvia Micieli attends a meeting with Gianluca Sanvito, head of the local office of the trade association Confartigianato, and one of his colleagues. Together with her partner Riccardo Bertolini, Silvia launched a startup, but due to the Coronavirus lockdown Riccardo has been made redundant and the couple, who have a daughter aged 10, are now in difficulty. They have requested the 600 euro subsidy available from the government, as well as the suspension of mortgage payments on their home and repayments of the loan they took out to finance the startup.

Loano Red Cross (Savona). From the left: an ambulance seat covered in plastic, just like all the other equipment inside. Bubba, who has been a Red Cross volunteer for 30 years, helping to collect school books from the Valerga elementary school. This is the second decontamination of the ambulance at the Red Cross base to be conducted by volunteers, following an initial decontamination which was carried out at the designated hospital facility.

Genoa. A doctor in complete PPE checks on a patient on board the MV Splendid, which has been converted into a Covid-19 hospital.

Milan, in the evening volunteers from the Fondazione Progetto Arca take food to people in need.


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