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Italian nurse commits suicide after getting coronavirus and fearing she had spread it to others


High stress environment

Italian priest Don Giuseppe Locattelli, wearing a face mask, blesses coffins of the deceased in a mortuary cell on Wednesday in the small town of Albino, Italy, during the country's lockdown. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

A nurse in Italy committed suicide this week while under quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus, and a nursing federation said she was severely stressed at the thought that she had likely infected other people in the days leading to her death, according to the Daily Mail.

Daniela Trezzi was a 34-year-old nurse working in Lombardy, the area of Italy hardest-hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Hospitals in the region are overwhelmed, and the number of Italians dying daily from the virus has escalated to between 600 and 800 over the past week.

Trezzi had been working in the intensive care unit at San Gerardo hospital in Monza, just outside Milan. On March 10, she was diagnosed with the coronavirus and placed under quarantine. She was recovering at home alone, not under surveillance of any kind. Police are investigating the death.

The National Federation of Nurses told Daily Mail that a "similar episode" occurred in Italy last week for the "same underlying reason," implying that Trezzi wasn't the first nurse to take her own life due to the stress the coronavirus has caused medical professionals.

"Each of us has chosen this profession for good and, unfortunately, also for bad: we are nurses," the federation said in a statement. "The condition and stress to which our professionals are subjected is under the eyes of all."

As Italy's health care system struggles under a massive burden of coronavirus patients, the issue of doctors and nurses getting sick and being sidelined is only making things worse. Daily Mail reported that nearly 6,000 health workers have contracted the coronavirus so far.

More than 74,000 Italians have been infected with COVID-19, and about 7,500 of them have died—more than twice as many recorded coronavirus deaths as any other single nation.

Part of the rationale behind the shelter-in-place lockdowns in the United States is a belief among some public health officials that the U.S. is on a similar trajectory as Italy. Right now, New York City is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. Of the roughly 838 deaths in the United States, 285 of them were in the state of New York, and 192 (as of Tuesday) were in New York City.

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