Doctor Dies from Coronavirus after Working Without Gloves Due to Shortage in Italy

A doctor in Italy who described his concerns in a recent television interview about how the shortages of medical supplies meant he had to treat patients with coronavirus without wearing gloves, has died from the illness.

Marcello Natali, 57, from Codogno, in the northern province of Lombardy, had also sounded the alarm over the number of doctors who were getting infected, during an interview with Euronews before he tested positive.

He told the channel bluntly that he was not able to work with gloves because "they have run out."

He said in the interview, "We certainly weren't prepared to face such a situation. Especially those of our generation, that of the post-antibiotic era, who grew up thinking that a pill against disease was enough.

Coronavirus Italy
Hospital employees wearing a protection are pictured at the Brescia hospital, Lombardy, on March 13, 2020 in this illustrative image. A doctor who was working without gloves in the town of Codogno has died. MIGUEL MEDINA/Getty Images

"We have fewer visits to the clinic by choice because we want as little access as possible to an area that is a potential location for contamination."

After he tested positive, Natali was hospitalized in Cremona before being transferred to Milan after developing double pneumonia.

The Italian Federation of General Practitioners confirmed his death, with its regional secretary Paola Pedrini describing the gravity of the outbreak in Europe's worst-hit nation as a "war."

She said that in Bergamo province alone, 110 doctors out of 600 doctors were sick and that medical supplies were still low.

"The situation has not got better since the end of February. We received some masks, some gloves, kit, nothing else. A mask that should last half-a-day, here lasts a week."

"We practice a lot over the phone, when possible, to avoid the spread of the virus and getting in contact with asymptomatic people who still carry the virus," Pedrini told Euronews.

Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said there would be an extension to the nationwide lockdown in place since March 9 in which people can only leave their homes to get food, medicine, go to work or carry out essential duties.

He told Corriere della Sera that "the measures taken, both the closure of (public) activities and the ones concerning schools, can only be extended."

The decree also extends to funerals and families have not been able to hold services for their loved ones. On Wednesday, the army had to be brought in to Bergamo, to collect coffins and transfer them for cremation to ensure they were not piling up in churches or filling morgues beyond capacity.

The graph below from Statista shows the global cases of COVID-19 as of March 19.

This graphic shows the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world as of March 19. Statista