In Italy, a young doctor came up with the idea to test a patient with persistent pneumonia for the virus.
A year ago today, the so-called case 1 was diagnosed in the small town of Codogno in northern Italy. The first corona patient who was not infected in China, but in Italy.
The country owes Annalisa Malara to the fact that this first Italian patient was ever discovered.
The 39-year-old says she will never forget that February 20, 2020. Everyone in Italy and Europe remembered this day. It was clear at the time that the virus was also spreading in Europe, and not just in far-away China.
The test result as a bomb
The doctor had looked after a patient in the small regional hospital in Codogno who was suffering from pneumonia. And although this patient was young and strong, the inflammation would not heal. She decided to do a corona test.
The test result became known the following day and was positive.
The news hit like a bomb. Further tests were immediately carried out in the Codogno region south of Milan. In people who also suffered from severe pneumonia. A few hours later, there were not just one but two dozen cases.
Malara had initiated everything. Today she says that this discovery likely saved many lives.
The containment strategy
Codogno and other neighboring communities were cordoned off on the same day, thus containing the virus. In Bergamo, where no Annalisa Malara had sounded the alarm early, the virus continued to spread. This is one of the reasons why significantly more people died in Bergamo than in the region around Codogno.
The re was a lack of protective material and many of her colleagues fell ill or even died. Family members of doctors and nurses were also infected.
Virus has been in Italy for a long time
The latest studies show that the virus had spread, Link opens in a new window Spread unnoticed in northern Italy for weeks or maybe even months.
Maybe it will have it from October 2019, says the doctor. This also explains why the chain of infection could not be traced back in this first patient. One thing was clear: he had never been to China. To this day, it is not known who he was infected from.
“Healthcare needs more resources”
Malara has received an award from the Italian President for her tenacity and foresight. She was made a cavalier, a knight. And continues to work in hospitals in and around Milan, especially with Covid patients.
The corona crisis showed that. Covid-19, one year after patient 1, hundreds of victims are already being killed every day in Italy.
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