The death toll from hard-hit northern Italy has become so dramatic that Italian officials have called in more soldiers to enforce the lockdown. But even they can’t do anything to help the increasing numbers of elderly victims dying alone — and medical staff who are getting sick themselves.

In Italy, more than 4,000 people, the majority of them over 70, have died. Chinese medical experts aiding Italian doctors say the restrictions imposed by the government haven’t been enough to stem the rising tide of deaths.

Nurses said the situation in the Lombardy area is so dire that the dead are no longer even being counted. “We’re working in a state of very high stress and tension,” Daniela Confalonieri, a nurse in Milan told Reuters. “We can’t contain the situation, there’s a high level of contagion. It’s unimaginable.”

“We are at the end of our strength. The staff are beginning to get sick,” Romano Paolucci, a doctor in the Lombardy city of Cremona, told Reuters.

Paolucci said the saddest thing about the coronavirus crisis is that many elderly victims cannot be visited by their relatives “and often die on their own.”



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