Coronavirus ‘no longer clinically exists in Italy’, top doctor says

COVID-19 is losing its potency and no longer clinically exists in Italy, a senior Italian doctor has claimed.
Dr Alberto Zangrillo, the head of Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital in the hard-hit Lombardy region, said the new coronavirus has become much less lethal, with newly infected patients having weaker symptoms than a couple of months ago.
A study conducted at the hospital found that the number of viruses present in people who tested positive decreased significantly between March and May.

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“The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago,” Dr Zangrillo told RAI television.
Following the analysis of 200 patients and comparing the viral load present in samples taken with a swab, the virus has “enormously weakened”, according to Massimo Clementi, director of the Microbiology and Virology Laboratory of San Raffaele.
Another Italian doctor from a hospital in Genoa has echoed these views.
Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital, said: “The strength the virus had two months ago is not the same strength it has today”.
Dr Zangrillo said some experts were too alarmist about the prospect of a second wave of coronavirus infections and suggested that politicians needed to take into account the new reality.
He said: “We’ve got to get back to being a normal country. Someone has to take responsibility for terrorising the country.”
Italy has the third-highest number of deaths from COVID-19 in the world, with 33,415 dying since February.
Dr Zangrillo said: “I say this well aware of the tragedy for those patients who didn’t make it, but we cannot continue to give all the attention to self-proclaimed professors rather than actual virologists and hospital workers.
“In a clinical sense, the virus no longer exists. I am prepared to put my name to that statement. We’ve got to get back to being a normal country because the statistics show we have every capability of doing that.”

Intensive care ward in hospital in Lombardy, Italy

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He added that previous epidemics such as MERS and SARS “petered out by themselves”.
“We’ve got to be wary, yes, but not kill ourselves unnecessarily. Our wards are emptying out,” he said.
The Italian government has urged caution and says it is far too soon to claim victory.
There are currently 435 people in intensive care, 6,387 in hospital, and 32,253 people self-isolating at home with symptoms.

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