CODOGNO, Italy — Italy’s coronavirus Patient No. 1, whose case confirmed one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks was underway, is taking part in a 180-kilometer (112-mile) relay race in memory of COVID-19 victims and as a sign of hope after he himself recovered from weeks in intensive care.
Mattia Maestri was suited up Saturday for the start of the two-day race between Italy’s first two virus hotspots. It began in Codogno, where Maestri tested positive Feb. 21, and was ending Sunday in Vo’Euganeo, where Italy’s first official COVID death was recorded the same day.
Wearing a black mask, Maestri said the race was a “beautiful initiative” uniting the two hard-hit cities, and that he was thrilled to be even alive to participate.
“I feel very lucky,” he said at the starting line.
Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.
Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid non-essential travel.