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From Italy Patient Zero, whose coronavirus case confirmed one of the world’s deadliest epidemics is underway, participates in a 180 km (112 mile) relay race as a sign of hope after he turns is himself recovered from weeks in intensive care, reports the AP.Mattia Maestri, 38, was ready on Saturday for the start of the two-day race between the first two virus hotspots in Italy. It started in Codogno, south of Milan, where Maestri tested positive on February 21, and ended Sunday in Vo Euganeo, where the first official death from Covid-19 in Italy was recorded on the same day.

Wearing a black mask, Maestri said the race was a great initiative uniting the two cities ravaged by the virus and the hard-hit swath of land between them. He said he was delighted to even be alive to participate.

Maestri marveled at her recovery and how her case has become a wake-up call for Europe and the world to the ability of the virus to spread. Photograph: Antonio Calanni / AP

Maestri first went to his hometown hospital of Codogno with flu-like symptoms on February 18, but was sent home. He returned the next day after deteriorating and the doctor on duty, Dr Annalisa Malara, decided to test him for the coronavirus even though it went beyond the testing protocol established by the Department of Health at the time; Maestri had not traveled to China or been in contact with a known positive case.

Maestri’s positive result on February 21 was the first confirmed case of domestic transmission in Italy, evidence that the virus was circulating among the local population. In a few days, Italy would become the epicenter of the epidemic in L’Europe , where it still has the second highest number of Covid-19 deaths after the UK.

The Italian government immediately quarantined Codogno and 10 neighboring towns and imposed a lockdown on Vo Euganeo, where on the same day as Maestri’s positive result, authorities confirmed the first death of a person who tested positive postmortem, Adriano Trevisan.

Maestri spent nearly three weeks in intensive care and weeks more in hospital, in which her own father died of the virus. Soon after his release, his wife who had tested positive but without serious complications gave birth to their first child, Giulia.

He has since made a full recovery and said on Saturday he felt well enough to participate in the race. Marathon runner and football fan before falling ill, Maestri takes the last leg of the relay and must cross the finish line in Vo ‘on Sunday.

Maestri has expressed concern over the continued upsurge in infections in Europe and urged Italians to adhere to the three rules of social distancing, face masks and frequent hand washing to keep the virus under control.

I think if we observe these two or three simple rules that they gave us, we will continue to see results in Italy. Hope this is the right way to go.


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