“Robots are tireless assistants. They cannot catch it or fall ill.” These assistants have been hired by the head of the intensive care unit of the Circolo de Varese hospital, in northern Italy, congested by COVID-19 patients.
Small, equipped with a rectangular head-screen, they look like something out of a futuristic movie.
Directed remotely, the six robots recently acquired by the hospital work alongside patients, verify their vital signs or activate the essential procedures to keep the most serious patients alive.
By piloting these jewels of electronics from a distance, doctors and nurses at this hospital in Varese protect themselves and save protective equipment. And according to the doctors, these little robots have another advantage: they bring smiles to some patients.
Near the Swiss border, Varese is one of the least affected areas of Lombardy, concentrating half of the deaths in Italy. But his hospital has received many patients in serious condition from other places like Bergamo, where health services are completely overwhelmed.
In Lombardy, medical personnel was “severely affected by the virus. The fact that these robots are not infected is something formidable,” says Francesco Dental.
Health sector, the most affected
According to the Higher Institute of Health, about 10% of the 120,000 officially reported infected in the country are health personnel.
The order of doctors has drawn up a list of 70 doctors who have died since the beginning of the pandemic, although it has not been able to specify if all are due to the coronavirus.
With more than 15,000 deaths, 8,300 of them in Lombardy, Italy leads the sinister world mortality list, according to official data.
But the number of deaths may be much higher, as shown by the first data on the lethality of the virus in affected areas.
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