Rolling Sleeves Up

Yesterday, the increase of daily new cases of Coronavirus in Italy spiked up again, contradicting my previous optimistic update. I will illustrate current situation with the chart below.

The blue line represents the daily increment of new cases. The orange line is the average of daily increments of new cases over the last seven days.

A simple way of looking at the chart is as follows: the more the orange line is heading upwards, the faster Coronavirus spread is progressing. In the current situation, every day that the blue line points downwards, the slope of the orange line becomes less steep, until the moment it will finally invert, which is when the virus spread really starts to slow down. When the blue line crosses below the orange, it is a good sign: in the finance industry, this situation is typically seen as an early indication of a trend inversion.

The green circle highlights the promising lapse of time between the 23rd and the 25th of March. Yesterday, the blue line crossed above the orange one. My interpretation of the curve is that, although Coronavirus spread is still increasing, it seems to slow down a little. These early indications will have to be confirmed in the days to come.

I decided to make a donation to EMERGENCY, a medical NGO that is working side by side with Italian authorities and healthcare organization to ease the pain in Lombardia, the region most affected by Coronavirus.

I think EMERGENCY is doing the right strategic moves by:

  • Relying on their core skills and past experience
  • Focusing on the systemic approach by helping building the most urgent infrastructure in the most affected areas
  • Taking actions to protect health of doctors and nurses, who are in the front line of operations
  • Easing the pain of that part of population that struggle getting support by other organizations such as self-quarantined elder people, migrants, homeless et cetera

If like me, you believe EMERGENCY is making the right moves, help them making a difference by donating.

These are the details of EMERGENCY action to respond to Coronavirus ( from their website):

EMERGENCY will give the authorities all the help it can to manage the coronavirus outbreak.

We will put our expertise in treating patients in the midst of epidemics, honed in Sierra Leone in the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015, at the disposal of the health authorities. On Friday 6 March, we spoke to the authorities of Lombardy region and offered them our help in managing the Coronavirus danger. We are keeping in contact with other authorities to see whether we can give them a hand at this difficult time.

In Bergamo

Our medical and logistics team is working with Azienda Regionale Emergenza Urgenza (AREU) and the medical corps of the Alpini mountain troops to set up a new field hospital purely for treating patients affected by COVID-19. The hospital will be built at Fiera di Bergamo, the town’s exhibition and trade fair centre, and should be fully operational by next week.

We are collaborating on the design for the new facility, offering our experience in managing epidemics, thanks to our work on Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014 and 2015, where we protected staff from contagion. EMERGENCY’s team of approximately 20 people will consist of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and logisticians, who will run the intensive and sub-intensive care wards.

We have reorganized the areas and patient flows to reduce the chance of contagion as much as possible. Every detail at the facility is essential to containing the disease. It’s crucial to separate every area, clearly define the places for dressing and undressing, and thoroughly plan any movement of people in advance. We’re offering the experience we gained in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic, and to do that we’ve brought back some of our staff who were working abroad. We want to do our part at such a difficult time for Italy,’  says a spokesperson.

In Brescia

We have been contacted by various health authorities in different Italian regions. We are currently working with the Health Department at Brescia hospital to protect healthcare personnel and the hospital from contagion.

In Milan

EMERGENCY has answered the municipal government of Milan’s call for support services for the city’s people, offering its full help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Using the government’s platform Milano Aiuta (Milan Helps)EMERGENCY has, as of Friday 13 March, been running a service delivering goods – food, medicine and other basic items – to people over 65, who have been ordered to quarantine themselves, and vulnerable people who cannot risk leaving their homes. EMERGENCY’s volunteers and Brigate di Solidarietà are supporting elderly people and those with chronic or immunosuppressive conditions, who are most at risk and have been advised to stay at home.

The service runs from 9 am to 1 pm, Monday to Saturday. It can be reached by calling 020202 and is completely free of charge. Every case is given a unique code and a level of priority. Calls are passed on by the Milan municipal government to Casa Emergency, EMERGENCY’s headquarters, where a work area has been formed to assign cases to volunteers spread around the city

Volunteers are currently moving in pairs and will wear a badge to identify themselves. All of them have received special training to minimise the risk of contagion to both themselves and the people they are supporting. Volunteers will not provide medical services of any kind.

Our support  to migrants and  homeless people

The work is managed by two teams from EMERGENCY, each made up of a nurse, a logistician, and a doctor in case of need. The point is to monitor the situation at the centres, see how the spaces are run when it comes to hygiene, safe distances and cleaning, and make sure the government’s instructions are being followed. After doing these checks, EMERGENCY points out any changes that need to be made to keep staff and patients healthy. We also train staff at the facilities on protocols and tutorials to follow to help them better manage the emergency.

It involves monitoring in shelters for homeless people and unaccompanied migrant children within the SIPROIMI (formerly SPRAR) system, including intermediary shelters and certain gypsy camps pointed out to us by Milan’s municipal government.

EMERGENCY will give basic training to Cooperativa Dar Casa, so it can let homeless people go into quarantine in its building on Via Carbonia, in the Quarto Oggiaro neighbourhood.

The project has begun  in collaboration with Milan’s municipal government.

In times like these, the worse thing that can happen to a country is to have executive powers concentrated in the hands of few leaders ignorant enough to dismiss science.


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