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In a intensive care unit in a hospital, Bologna, Italy
In a intensive care unit in a hospital, Bologna, Italy
Alessio Perrone

MILAN — In March, the first coronavirus outbreak in the West put Italy's hospitals under unprecedented strain, with health authorities facing what they described as a "tsunami" of new patients. As intensive care units filled with COVID-19 patients, hospitals scrambled to convert other wards, freeing up corridors and operating theaters for patients of the potentially fatal virus. All non-essential surgeries and appointments were canceled.

Today, the outbreak has been gradually brought under control, with the number of coronavirus patients in Italy in need of intensive care below 500 for the first time since early March. Still, hospitals are far from returning to a "normal" pre-coronavirus life. Indeed, the huge backlog of postponed surgeries and appointments means that a new crisis looms large, according to a new study by consultancy firm Nomisma, while a top health care official warned of the risk of 20,000 deaths if urgent surgeries cannot be performed in time.

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May 21-22

  • A liberated Ukrainian village
  • Long COVID limbo
  • TikToker under fire
  • … and much more.
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