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Italian Patient Describes What It's Like to Have COVID-19

Workers, volunteers and Italian Army Alpini corps prepare the intensive care room of a new hospital being built in the spaces of the Bergamo Fair, in Bergamo, Italy, March 26, 2020.

As Italy continues to battle the coronavirus, a patient who contracted the virus earlier this month warns the world to be careful because the virus can be passed by those who show no symptoms.

Italy’s rate of coronavirus infection slowed for a fourth day Thursday, with many hopeful that the long lockdown is providing the results everyone has been praying for.

Authorities are cautious, though, asking Italians not to lower their guard and continue to respect the rules.

One hospitalized patient is speaking about his experience. Fausto Rossi, 38, started feeling unwell with a fever March 5 and four days later he was taken to Santa Maria Goretti Hospital in the city of Latina, where he tested positive for the coronavirus.

He says, “the problem with this virus is when it gets to your lungs because it attacks them aggressively and causes a very serious pneumonia with an extremely high percentage of death.” He stressed that this pneumonia is devastating.

He said, “It’s incredibly strong and has a very high mortality rate.” He added that, if he suffered from other ailments or was of a different age, he would probably not be here today. “It’s a horrible feeling not to be able to breathe,” he said.

Rossi, who is still in the hospital, but has been released from the intensive care unit and hopes to soon return to his family at home, said everyone in Italy underestimated this virus. He said he hopes this pandemic will end as quickly as possible so that everyone can return to their normal lives. He offered his advice.

People wear masks as they line up to enter a pharmacy, in Rome, March 16, 2020.
People wear masks as they line up to enter a pharmacy, in Rome, March 16, 2020.

People must respect the restrictive measures that have been put in place, leaving the house only for primary needs; they must stay at home and avoid social contact with others because “this virus walks on his own legs of those who have no symptoms, so anyone could have it.”

Rossi is very grateful towards those who treated him.

"My thanks go to all the doctors and nurses of the hospital’s infectious diseases unit, they are the true heroes of this battle. Every day they work in extreme conditions, psychologically under pressure and with the constant fear of contracting the virus and of not being able to return home to their families," he said.

This Italian coronavirus patient says his days in the hospital were passed in great solitude with no family members nearby and no one to support him. He said the experience has changed his life and taught him to appreciate the small things he took for granted: “living, breathing, a walk, a hug, a glass of wine, freedom.”