Army Medics Sing Happy Birthday to Coronavirus Patient in Italy, Present Him With a Cake in 'Beautiful' Gesture

Demonstrating the kindest of human nature in the bleakest of moments, medical staff surprised a patient with a birthday cake in one of the Italian Army's temporary tent hospitals, situated in the city of Piacenza.

The video, from March 30 and collected by Italian news organization ilpiacenza, shows one patient's misfortune as he finds himself being treated for COVID-19 on his birthday in the field hospital in northern Italy. Much to his surprise, he's presented with a birthday cake.

"This is the #ItalianArmy this is the #Italy that the world likes! Happy birthday Bruno, our guest in the field hospital in Piacenza!" wrote the Italian Army on its official Twitter account.

In the video, medical staff dressed in full protective gear— white suits, masks, gloves and goggles—walk through the tented structure to Bruno's bed.

Footage shows one medic holding a cake with lit candles and people clapping as the cake reaches his bed. The staff then sing the Italian version of "Happy Birthday," while the patient sits up in appreciation. A member of staff then hands him a paper certificate. He thanks them and says it was a "beautiful" gesture.

Questo è l’#EsercitoItaliano questa è l’#Italia che piace al mondo! Tanti auguri Bruno, nostro ospite nell’ospedale da campo di Piacenza! #Dipiùinsieme #AlserviziodelPaese #noicisiamosempre #aiutaciadifenderti #iorestoacasa #andràtuttobene #COVID19 #coronavirus

— Esercito Italiano (@Esercito) March 31, 2020

As of April 1, Italy has the world's highest death toll as a result of coronavirus, with more than 11,500 fatalities and some 3,900 patients in intensive care. There have been more than 100,000 coronavirus cases to date in Italy.

Coronavirus cake
A Palestinian baker finishes a cake, that portrays a woman wearing a facemask, at his shop in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2020. An Italian coronavirus patient has been given a cake of his own to celebrate his birthday by medical staff. MOHAMMED ABED/AFP via Getty Images

Bruno is among a host of people having their birthdays and other celebrations in unusual circumstances. Due to sickness and social-distancing regulations, folks the world over have turned to video messaging apps to attend virtual parties and share greetings and well-wishes online.

Others are turning to drive-by celebrations, such as baby showers, in which they drop off gifts. Meanwhile, cake bakers, such as ones in the Southern Gaza Strip (above) are creating light humor with their face mask cake creations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And in the town of Sienna, in Tuscany, residents sang from their balconies to keep their spirits up during the lockdown, with residents of other towns across the country following suit.

Originating in Wuhan, China, coronavirus can severely affect the respiratory system in some cases. The most serious cases are treated in hospital.

Italy's health system has been flooded with cases, resulting in the need for temporary hospital structures to be built and the Army being enlisted to help in the crisis. The disease is predominantly transmitted via droplets generated from saliva or discharge from the nose. To avoid contamination, medical staff wear full protective gear.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.