“Nurse Lucia Perolari poses for a portrait at her hospital Humanitas Gavazzeni in Bergamo, northern Italy, on Friday, March 27, 2020, in the file photo at right, and on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020.” – (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
by Luca Bruno, Antonio Calanni and Domenico Stinellis
“Eight months later, they allow themselves a faint, forced smile. The tired terror in their eyes has faded. They look chic in makeup or a jaunty handkerchief tucked into a jacket pocket.
“But for the doctors and nurses who have been on the front lines of Italy’s coronavirus battle since the start, the passage of time has taken a toll. They have seen so much suffering and death and have suffered themselves: From fear of infection, isolation from their families, anger at COVID-19 skeptics and the overwhelming sense of being powerless before a vicious virus.
“The Associated Press went back to photograph the 16 health care workers whose portraits, taken on the single deadliest day of Italy’s first wave of infection, came to epitomize the sacrifice of the world’s medical personnel during the pandemic.”