Italian Coronavirus Survivor Speaks After His Recovery

Date: 2020-03-30 14:32:05

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While most of those who have died in Italy are closer to 80 years old, COVID-19 also has struck the younger population, surprising healthy patients for how swiftly it hits.

Andrea Napoli, a 33-year-old Italian lawyer, was in perfect health two weeks ago.

He was going to the swimming pool, jogging and working, when a strange fever and dry cough started.

Within a day and a half, he was hospitalised, the oxygen in his blood decreased sharply and he entered, for the first time in his life, an intensive care unit.

Napoli’s first symptoms started on Saturday, March 14.

Given the persistence of both fever and cough, he was brought to a hospital for a coronavirus test.

The results of two swabs arrived on March 17 showed he was positive.

He was still in good condition and health authorities ordered a quarantine at his home in Rome, while doctors were checking him on him by phone.

Napoli alerted friends, colleagues and whoever could have been in contact with him.

His first thoughts after the test were for his parents.

Fortunately, when many southern Italians working in Rome and northern Italy made a mass exodus to go home before the government’s lockdown on any cross-regional movement, he decided not to leave for his hometown Naples.

He thought it was irresponsible to move and potentially bring the virus to the south.

This decision probably saved his parents’ lives.

Doctors alerted him that the situation could potentially worsen rapidly and his health quickly deteriorated.

In just one day, he started feeling very weak and he ran out of breath even to move from the bedroom to the toilet.

Napoli said next morning he called the ambulance.

He spent one night alone at home trying not to fall asleep.

When he called the ambulance, medics decided to hospitalise him.

A scan confirmed pneumonia; his breathing was getting worse and worse.

Napoli was brought to the Columbus, a new hospital created by rapidly turning an orthopedic clinic into a building dedicated only to patients infected by the new virus.

But as his condition worsened still, the intensive care unit was the only way to save him.

His oxygen levels dropped to a dangerous level.

His life was at risk and he needed constant monitoring and oxygen.

After one and a half days in intensive care, doctors managed to stabilise him and move him to a sub-intensive care unit.

There he was attached, without intubation, to oxygen for the next nine days non-stop.

Napoli was a water polo champion and won several Italian championships when he was a teenager in Naples.

Now a lawyer, was still practicing three time a week until the end of February, when most Italian gyms and swimming pools started closing due to the restrictive measure to limit the spreading of the virus.

He never had a respiratory disease, or other kinds of diseases.

On Friday Napoli was moved to a hotel that was commandeered to host quarantined recovering virus patients.

He still can’t breathe properly and gets easily tired just for a simple shower.

On Monday Napoli will finish the antiviral therapy that he says is even worse than the disease for its collateral effects and in two weeks’ time, at the end of this quarantine, he looks forward to hugging his parents and having a simple walk outdoors.

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