A faint glimmer of hope has emerged from the devastated region of Lombardy in Italy after a man known as “Patient No.1” was released from hospital one month after contracting the deadly coronavirus.
After 18 days in intensive care on a respirator, Mattia, 38, told the world he began breathing on his own: “The most simple and beautiful thing, that is, to breathe.”
“You can get cured of this illness”.
According to The Associated Press, Mattia, a Unilever worker, first went to a Pavia hospital on February 18 complaining of flu-like symptoms.
He was sent home but came back the next day after his condition worsened dramatically, and in the meantime infected his wife, several doctors, nurses and patients, “creating what was thought initially to have been Italy’s main cluster”.
He tested positive to COVID-19 on February 21 and spent the next three weeks in hospital. He came to be known in Italy as Patient No.1.
On March 10, he was moved out of the ICU to a sub-ICU unit and was speaking with doctors.
Head of intensive care at the San Matteo hospital in Pavia, Dr Francesco Mojoli told RAI state television:“This disease has a long life. Now we hope that the fact that he was young and in good shape will help him get back to his normal life”.
He has now left hospital and is awaiting the birth of his child.
In all, Italy, the hardest-hit country of all after China with 63,927 confirmed cases, has declined in both new cases and deaths for a second consecutive day.
Italian officials said the coronavirus claimed just over 600 more lives, down from 793 two days earlier.
All told, the outbreak has killed 6077 people in Italy, the highest death toll of any country, and pushed the health system to breaking point.
Medical teams from as far away as Cuba headed to Italy two days ago to help manage the health crisis.
Last week, Italian media reported the death of his father, who lived in one of the first towns in Lombardy that were at the heart of the outbreak’s start.
Italian doctors say that even before Mattia’s case, they suspect the virus was circulating in Italy and that some patients who died of pneumonia last autumn might have had coronavirus.