In what’s become a daily ritual, there’s a late afternoon-late night call to Italy when a couple of middle-aged wine professionals — one an American in Houston, the other an Italian in Brescia province — catch up on the ongoing health crisis in their respective cities.
Yesterday’s call was grimmer than most.
“I see the number of cases has actually begun to fall in Italy today,” said the American, noting that there was a drop, however small, in the number of new cases and victims with respect to the previous day’s reporting.
“But not in Brescia,” replied the Italian.
His words were echoed in a story this morning on the front page of the New York Times website: “Dip in Italy’s Cases Does Not Come Fast Enough for Swamped Hospitals.”
“In Brescia,” write the paper’s editors in a caption for the lead image, “hospitals have been reporting hundreds of new cases a day.” The photo that appears at the beginning of the article was taken in the intensive care unit of the Spedali Civili hospital in Brescia.
While the numbers are beginning to level off, just barely, in the rest of Italy, the situation in Brescia and neighboring Bergamo province is getting worse. Bergamo and the Italian region of Lombardy where Bergamo and Brescia are located are the epicenter of the ongoing health crisis.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a concentration of suffering so intense,” says
Dr. Intissar Sleiman in a video the man from Brescia shared with his American friend during their chat. She’s a Brescia medical professional on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy.
“We’re not used to losing so many people in such a short period of time,” she says as she holds back her tears.
The video left the American wine professional with tears streaming down his face. Just a few months ago, he was there in Brescia province visiting his Italian friend. He was supposed to be in Italy this week. How he wishes he could embrace his friend in Brescia right now! Magari!
The wine professional from Brescia and his partners are donating proceeds from the sale of one of their wines to a fund that supports the struggling Brescia hospital system.
G-d bless Brescia. G-d bless us all.