I am Italian (Rome) and also operator of the Italian Red Cross. AMA.
Hi, i'm an italian 20 years old that also works in the Italian Red Cross in medical transports (not in emergency, not doc or nurse). If you have any questions about the situation here in Italy during this coronavirus emergency (i'm in Rome, the capital), just ask me.
The photo below is upper uniform of the italian red cross with my reddit username.
Stats by the italian govt about cases in italy :
I am seeing people telling others that masks are not helpful. THIS IS NOT TRUE. HOW TO USE MASKS :
FFP2 and FFP3 masks if wear properly stop the virus. masks have sizes, just like gloves, and they need to well-fit the face to work correctly.
surgical masks are a low level protection, mainly protect others from the one that use them.
ffp2 and ffp3 masks are rare right now and health workers need them the most. do not buy them if you don't need them.
Not at all, it was kinda a meme here, then news from the regions in the north of italy arrived, the deaths and the problems that hospitals have with so many patients. Now it is a serious issue for everyone and people in everyday life try to keep a distance with others.
We are in the meme phase here in Brazil and it's so stupid.
everything is gonna change in few days or weeks hahahah trust me
Should people in the US be staying inside at home even if they don’t have symptoms? As I understand it, the answer is yes so that we can decrease density and slow the infection rates to keep hospitals below operating capacity, but I see many people still going out to bars, partying, etc.
Right now the WHO says that the patient can be symptomless for a range of 2 to 14 days. Everyone should avoid crowded places, bars, parties, pubs, central city etc..
How well is confinement respected in Italy? There's talk of imposing total quarantine here in France starting tomorrow or Tuesday too. Are the hospitals at capacity?
At first it was not much respected, now it is and people not following the rules are badly viewed by the society and reported to the police. There are police and military checkpoints. Our police officers checked 140k people this week and reported 7k people for not respecting the law.
Are you worried about getting sick?
Yes, a little bit, during medical transports we do have double gloves, ffp2/ffp3 masks and full medical suit if necessary.
During normal life, i try to stay at home most of the time, when i need to go out from important stuff (groceries for example) i wash my hand regularly, i don't touch my face and i keep distance with everyone.
Do you keep distance from family?
I do live by my own, so i don't have this problem everyday. My parents are old so we are not seeing eachother at this moment.
Do you feel the need to use a mask and gloves at the supermarket?
the use of surgical masks is important to avoid infecting others, gloves can not be used if you wash your hands in the correct way and avoid touching your face (must avoid it even with gloves of course). Personally im a not using gloves and masks only because i don't have contact with others (i live by my own) and when i do groceries shopping i try to be far from everyone.
Do you think it will have a long term effect on the general populations mind when it comes to social life after corona?
Yes, i think it will change for a long time the way we interact with others.
Can you explain this more in depth?
italians are well known for being very close to eachother when speaking, i think this will change for a long time, even the importance we give on normal things like washing hands.
Hello! I wanted to ask if you know if pet stores are open? (Sorry if it's not a question you hoped for, but it seems like my country will go into lockdown too, and I want to know if I need to buy pet food right now.)
Yes, they are in the list of the shops that are authorized to stay open :)
Thank you for doing this AMA. How has the Red Cross been able to maintain logistics, and get supplies from point A to Point B? As well, has manufacturing been shut down and if so how has that affected the supply chain?
How has the Red Cross been able to maintain logistics, and get supplies from point A to Point B?
Red Cross vehicles have special permissions and can go on street without problems. Right now we are costructing a distribution chain to deliver door to door food and drugs. Ambulances that work for the 112 (emergency number) are doing extra schedule work.
As well, has manufacturing been shut down and if so how has that affected the supply chain?
The supply chain of food/medical stuff/basic life needs are secured by the government. Every other public bussiness is closed. manufacturing are open with some restrictions on people per space and must use of gloves/masks. If possible, must work from home. Red Cross and hospitals too have problem with the supplies of masks, that are rapidly going to run out. Right now we are costructing a factory to build them here in Italy.
How are you handling, personally? Does it seem like it to you that it’s one of those end of the world situations where you are?
There are police cars that use the speaker with an already registered message that says "you have to stay at home. permissions to go out will be checked by police officers. staying at home is the right thing to do". looks surreal. looks like an horror movie when they pass in the night with the lights on, trust me. There are police and military checkpoints that control the reason you are out.
photos of police checkpoints :
are products like fresh fruit and vegetables available in the food shops? if so, are any measures taken to prevent people touching and feeling all the products then putting them back without buying?
Yes, they are available as normal days. Food supplies are guaranteed. People must use gloves when touching food.
How are the homeless being treated? How long do your govt expect this to last?
To homeless are given food supplies and drugs when needed by the Italian Red Cross and other associations
Right now the govt is trying to understand (it will need something like 2 weeks) if the closing of the bussiness and the quaratine helped or not. Haven't stated about how much they expect this to last.
Seeing that the US van potentially be in your spot; what do you wish you did to prepare 4 weeks ago?
prohibit assemblies of people by law, parties, disco, pubs.
educate people on washing hands, don't touch the face and keeping a distance of at least 1 meter with others.
improve the capacity of hospitals and the medical staff (docs and nurses)
What do you wish you had personally done to prepare 4 weeks ago?
personally, nothing, i wished i entered the special department of the italian red cross that works with biologic risks.
How do you think all of this will end?
I think everything is slowly going to re-open and work again. Right now we need to reduce the spread of the virus because we are building new hospitals and new equipment is going to the hospitals that already exist. I think in May everyhing is going to re-open, but even us, italians, that are knowed to be very "touchy" during conversations, will change their habits for a long time.
The real problem of this virus is that is so contagious that hospitals can't handle the patients. In the Italian Red Cross we are doing medical transports to move people with other disease to their homes (when possible) to have more beds for the coronavirus positive patients.
Tweet about the costruction of the new hospital area for coronavirus patients:
Sorry, but the important questions must be asked: How is the pasta supply at the grocery store?
hahahahah they are ok thanks for asking :)
How are universities dealing with the situation? As a college student in the us we are unsure of what the administration will decide to do. They already extended spring bring and online classes, but at that point we only have 5-6weeks of school left. What will they do about graduation?
All universities and schools are closed. exams are made via videoconference when possible. Nurse and Medical universities can do the graduation exam through videoconference. Graduations of those specifical universities are anticipated of 1 month because the state needs more doctors and nurses.
Not OC but follow up question: I am a nursing student in the US. As of right now (subject to change, of course), I am still expected to attend clinicals and provide patient care like nothing is happening. While COVID-19 is present in our state, there aren’t very many cases (28 confirmed cases as last press release) and personally, I’m not that worried about getting infected while on duty—if I’m doing my job with regard to infection prevention (hand hygiene in and out of every room, appropriate PPE usage, patient education), I shouldn’t be able to transmit anything patient to patient. However, my husband is convinced having nursing students treating COVID patients will ultimately increase patient-patient transmission and COVID deaths.
Does having nursing students tending to patients pose any sort of additional risk or contribute to negative outcomes? Are medical students still working in hospitals in Italy?
appropiate PPE usage is a must right now : double glove, ffp2/ffp3 mask when needed, surgical mask otherwise. during nursing school i assume that you are told that every patient is a possible infected patient : right now with covid you must respect the procedures at 100%.
Nursing and medical students keep working in hospital depening on the universities, they do not work with covid patients for what i know, i don't have much informations. in the italian red cross all the trainings are stopped expect the special department of biological risk (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EQ0VmEoWoAUNg39.jpg)
What are the steps in getting a permission to go out?
You can print it by your own, where you state your necessity (food supplies, health issues, works), then if you are stopped by police officers (there are police and military checkpoints) those permission will be examined.
What happens to older people that don't own a personal printer?
police officers carry a lot of those permissions with them.
I wish all of you luck! I am not sure if I should ask this question but I am curious. One of my friends said that Pornhub premium is made free in Italy as people are staying indoors. Is that true?
it is true :)
Can you post a photo of your Italian Red Cross attire holding a piece of paper with your username on it?
edit* why the downvotes? Just trying to confirm this person is who they say they are -_-The "proof" is just a screengrab... cmon folks...
I edited the first post, thanks for the idea, never done an ama and didn't thought about it :)
Thank you. Understandable. It wasn't meant to be anything more than simply requesting. People are downvoting me like the people asking about pizza toppings... smh :(
btw the screen was a screen of the internal website of the red cross (only interns can access it), this is why i thought it was a prove :)
Hi! Many, many thanks for taking the time out to do this AMA!
I’ve read that places like Italy and Spain have closed everything down EXCEPT for pharmacies and grocery stores.
1.) If this is true, who is working at these places? How are employees staying safe? (I’m an American, so I apologize if these industries have public sector elements that I’m overlooking. Damn near everything is privatized here, for better or worse... mostly worse.)
2.) Assuming a United States lockdown would be implemented in a similar fashion, are people right to be stocking up on food right now?
1) It is true. Employees that must work are given masks and gloves by their employer.
2) Here in italy our govt guaranteed that food supplies aren't a problem, so there is no need to stock up. the supermakets are full of food as usual.
besides that people are panicking, have you notice something different in their behavior?
Everyone keep distance with eachother in a very strange way (especially for us italians that are knowed for being "touchy"), if someone does not wear mask is looked in a bad way.
if someone does not wear mask is looked in a bad way.
Given the mask shortage, have they been provided to people by the government or are people expected to have sourced them themselves?
with mask i meant surgical masks, that prevent you to spread the virus.
govt do not provide to people ffp2 or ffp3 masks, people are discouraged to use them if not necessary due to the shortage of supplies.
From your point of view, do you think the quarantine helps reducing the spread of the virus?
Is there a lot of people that refuse to stay home?
First question : Yes, not only from my point of view but all our experts confirm that is the only solution right now, linked to some good practices like : washing your hands regularly, not touching your face, keep a distance of 1 meter with others and use gloves and maks if possible.
Second questions : in this week, our police department checked 140k people, reported 7k people to the authority (judges). Right now you risk a max of 600 euros fine and a max of 3 months of jail. There are police checkpoints that control people (look reply above if you want to see photos), in the last few days street are pretty empty, you can look this gallery of the center of rome, that is full every day of the year in "normal times"
Are there any punishments in place for people who don’t respect the quarantine regulations? Are they arrested by the Carabinieri or soldiers?
Punishments : Fine of a maximum of 600 euros and jail for a maximum of 3 months.
Carabinieri, Police and soldiers do report them to the authorities (judges).
What would happen should a non-italian become critically ill while traveling in Italy?
non-italian and italians are treated the same way. the health here is public and everyone is treated the same way, you do not need insurance.
How are people paying their bills? That’s the biggest concern for many in the US.
The govt is working to help people reducing bills and helping families that have babies with the payment of a babysitter. it is all media news, nothing official yet.
Has Italy peaked or are cases still rising?
stats by civil protection department : http://opendatadpc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/b0c68bce2cce478eaac82fe38d4138b1
Looking at this, it seems to be still rising exponentially...
they are. weeks are needed to see the effect of the quarantine.
How have little ones been effected in the area? I have a 6 month old daughter that has flu symptoms, and a 6 year old that seems healthy. My wife is also having flu like symptoms. Even though I had a tooth extraction from a dentist that had just gotten back from China two weeks ago, my health department refuses to do a Covid test.
5% of patients is less than 30 years old. only 0,05% is less than 9 years old (stats of 5 days ago).
Hi thanks for doing the AQA. Weird question but we have livestock (horses) have people been allowed out to feed and look after their animals?
Yes, it is totally allowed.
Pet shops are open.
How are people staying healthy in quarantine? Can you still go for a run around the block/along the river?
You can workout outside for a maximum of 1 hour, but not in a group. Distance with eachother must be respected.
Belgian citizen here. How did Italy go from "it's not that serious" to "holy shit, this is actually scary"? Because Belgium doesn't seem to get it. People make fun of the government when all they're trying to do is whatever they can to get a hold of the situation.
it all changed in a matter of days, if not hours, when we received the news from the hospitals in the north, in lombardy, everyone started changing their minds.
Apart from the elderly, who are you most concerned about?
People that are immunosuppressed or have already some other important diseases are the ones that needs special protection.
Is there any difficulty in handling the number of dead? I was hopeful yesterday when the death count for Italy dropped to 175, but today I see that it increased again to a new high of 368. But that is still mostly Lombardy, so maybe you don't have first hand knowledge of their situation?
There was a problem when counting deaths : someones dies "with" coronavirus (other pathologies were a problem too) and someone because of it. Not a doctor so can't give you exact informations.
These are the stats of deaths by our govt : http://opendatadpc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/b0c68bce2cce478eaac82fe38d4138b1
I'm curious what happens to middle aged (otherwise healthy) folk who contract the virus. Would they be able to manage by themselves?
percentage of people that died by age (stats of 13 of March):
50-59 : 2.8%
60-69 : 8.4%
70-79 : 32.4%
80-89 : 42.2%
how long can covid survive on a surface?
WHO says that depends on surfaces, coronaviruses (it is a type of virus) can survive up to 9 days in plastic and metal.
Co-vid-19 is not actually well known how much it lasts on surfaces.
There are not complete informations about the topic right now
Do you have enough equipment for all health workers? There is talk that some health workers refused the masks they received. What do you make of that?
There is a real issue with masks supplies. FFP2 and FFP3 mask are difficult to found, right now we are building a factory to produce them here in Italy by in italian bussiness. Normal people are asked to not buy them if not necessary to let health workers use them.
I think that the problem you are asking is about the surgical masks, that only prevent you to spread the virus, they don't get you covered, this is why they are not totally safe for a health worker.
How much training were you given for this particular outbreak?
The course that give you access to ambulances contains training in biological and chemical risks. we had a retraining on that, reinforcing the importances on using gloves and masks, and training on the use of the full vest (there is a special way to dress and undress it). The Italian Red Cross has a special department that works in this situations (https://www.instagram.com/p/B8lr0kVCyri/ )
Even though your country is locked down how's the mood? I get the feeling Italians are still happy and optimistic. Hope things improve there, here in the US we're just getting started.
everyday there is a flashmob of people out of the balcony with songs and lights, it is fun. i haven't take part of the last one to answer your answers :)
What kind of aid are you getting from outside countries, if any? I've seen headlines saying you're getting help from China and then others that refute that. What's the deal?
China Red Cross sent 9 doctors that helped in China fighting the virus. Right now they are working in the hospital "Spallanzani" of Rome. We received a lot of help with supplies of masks from a lot of different countries.
Do any of the patients show different symptoms rather than the obvious ones the media have told the world about?
Not a doctor, can't give you this informations.
I'm a teenage volunteer in the Red Star of David and I always wondered are there teenagers in the Red Cross? I'm 15
yes there are :)
I'm immunocompromised (transplant patient). I'm already staying in as much as possible (work from home, going out for a walk away from people). Should I avoid sharing a bed with my wife?
Not sharing your bed would not help if you keep having close contacts, sharing the same house (think about it as a very contagious flu). Ask your wife to follow the rules you are following as much as possible, washing hands frequently.
not a doc, if you or your wife have symptoms inform your doctor.
When you feel anxiety or fear because of what’s happening, what thoughts do you turn to for hope / to comfort yourself?
I am not feeling anxiety or fear right now. The Italian Red Cross opened up a call center with psychologists you can talk to.
What should we actually be stocking and have around the house to help?
Depends where you live, here in Italy supermarkets supplies are guaranteed by the govt so there is no problem (even if stupid people keep stocking up large amount of food with no reason)
How are things in Rome with regards of how much work you have? Are the hospital holding on ok?
Hospitals especially in the north of italy are close to be full, this is why some days ago started the construction of a new area for a hospital in Milano. In the next few weeks more hospitals are going to get more equipment.
I do not work in an hospital.
What people do for their pets? Should they ask Police permission each time they want to take them out to pee?
The permission is self made, then if you are stopped they are gonna investigate your reasons.
You can walk out your dog for the necessity of the pet.
What happens if someone confirmed to have the virus not isolating themselves. I heard they are charging them with a murder like crime. Is that true?
If someone that is confirmed positive do not respect the isolation can be charged with "epidemia colposa", that google translates in culpable epidemic, it means that you had your part in spreading the epidemic. there is a max of 12 years of prison for that. it happened someday ago, someone positive did go to a supermarket, it was charged with that crime.
as a user suggested, i edited the post with the uniform and my username here.
btw, that was the internal website of the italian red cross (only interns can access it)
False, is not 25%.
Uh... This is gonna sound like I have my priorities all out of whack, but...
Can you still get weed? O.o
i don't smoke, so i don't know ahahahah
Prior to going on lockdown, what was the overall atmosphere from the general public? Did they understand the seriousness of COVID-19?
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