Milan Italy Was Overwhelmed With Viral Lung Infections as Recently as 2018 Without Feeding a Global Hysteria
How unusual is it for a certain number of localities world-wide to get swamped during the flu season? Apparently not that unusual at all
Editor’s note: This is a question I keep asking, how unusual is it for a few localities in the world to have their intensive care capacities swamped with severe lower respiratory infection cases during the flu season? We are supposed to think hospitals in a few cities in the world becoming swamped in this way is highly irregular and a sign COVID-19 is a threat like no other but is that really true? Is it the case hospitals never get swamped, or is it the case the media and thus the public never before paid much attention?
One thing that is clear is that SARS-CoV-2 is a mild virus that is extremely unlikely to kill you if you become infected (see 1,2,3). Another thing which is clear is that there is no excess mortality to indicate this influenza-pneumonia-coronavirus season has been particularly bad and that SARS-CoV-2 is, therefore, killing more people than whatever coronavirus it mutated from (see 1,2). Its only remaining claim to be a greater threat than what we deal with every year without governments subjecting us to house arrest is that it has the ability to overwhelm hospitals and force doctors to ration care as is happening now in Milan and happened before in Wuhan. Well here follows a (machine-translated) report from 2018 which makes it clear the intensive care capacity of a modern European metropolis was overwhelmed just two years ago — that metropolis just happens to be Milan.
This particular swamping may not have been quite as severe, but that’s not the point. The point is that if we can find a previous less severe case of swamping even for Milan itself it would indicate that globally they are not at all unusual.
How many more such reports could we find if we dug into local news? How many localities in the world are overwhelmed right now by viral lung diseases that are not COVID-19 but aren’t being reported on?
Machine-translated from Italian:
Record numbers. The complications of the flu, especially pneumonia, put the reanimations in crisis: 48 cases of seriously ill patients hospitalized from Christmas to today in the intensive care of Policlinico, San Raffaele, San Gerardo of Monza and San Matteo of Pavia, the reference hospitals in Lombardy for the use of the Ecmo, the machine that replaces the lungs. [In other words, they had 48 critical pneumonia cases which took up their entire ECMO capacity, meaning they likely had many more patients who required intensive care short of ECMO such as IV and ventilators.] The problems overlap: difficulties in welcoming new patients, postponement of scheduled surgical interventions and suspended reservations for the bedside of the resuscitations intended to welcome the sick after the operations, extraordinary shifts (free) for doctors and nurses called back from holidays.
Giuseppe Foti, at the helm of the San Gerardo emergency in Monza, does the math: «Three patients hospitalized until December 22nd, 6 from December 22nd to 31st, 8 from January 1st to today. The problem is serious. From this week we have been forced to suspend bookings of ICU beds for surgical patients with scheduled interventions ». Federico Pappalardo, head of intensive care at San Raffaele, admits: “Today other non-urgent operations will be skipped”. Giacomo Grasselli, medical director of the resuscitation of the Policlinico, is in the same situation: “The risk of postponing elective surgery for patients who need postoperative care in intensive care is a problem on the agenda”. Giorgio Antonio Iotti, head of intensive care at San Matteo di Pavia, spreads his arms:
According to doctors, the intervention of the Lombardy Region is urgent to overcome the problem: the Pirellone is called into question because today there is a lack of recognized coordination, also economically, of the work of the four hospitals.
Alberto Zangrillo, director of the San Raffaele Urgency Emergency Department, attacks: “The truth is that Minister Lorenzin did not worry nationally about refinancing the project, putting in difficulty especially Lombardy, a region on which for the high level the centers also unload the work of the other regions ». Grasselli insists: “The centralization of the patients who need the Ecmo literally saves the lives of patients who would otherwise die.”
And the thoughts of the doctors, gathered on Monday at the Policlinico to examine what to do, goes to the new mother who risked her life two days after giving birth, in early January, for a very serious respiratory failure following the flu and now in good condition thanks to the Ecmo. The same happened to a little girl, who got seriously worse following a fever and cough. The worst was feared for her too: “But our intervention with the machine that replaces the lungs saved her.” A great commitment, an enormous effort, which now make the institutions ask for recognition. To save other lives.
Meanwhile, the blood emergency widens , due to the flu virus that prevents many donors from going to collection centers. After the appeal of the Polyclinic, the virologist Roberto Burioni also reports difficulties at San Raffaele, with surgical operations suspended due to a lack of blood. And invites citizens to make their contribution.
Source: Corriere Della Sera