The Cardiologist at the Time of Coronavirus: A Perfect Storm

Claudio Rapezzi; Roberto Ferrari


Eur Heart J. 2020;41(13):1320-1322. 

In This Article

Time Suspended

This is a condition in which a part of time is enucleated from the usual flow of days and months, and during this period, rules that generally apply are temporarily suspended. During 'normal' life, time suspended is generally something positive. Typical examples include school outings, short stays with grandparents during childhood, and vacations in general. If anything, even the classic flu can often generate time suspended, during which, one is not severely ill, aware of the benign prognosis, but at the same time somewhat tried by the illness and takes comfort in a warm bed and being taken care of by family members. On these occasions, one often wishes for the situation to be prolonged.

World China South Korea Italy France Germany Spain UK
Overall 1121517 80790 7755 10149 1784 1622 2124 383
Recovered 66941 61611 288 1004 12 136 136 18
Serious/critical 5753 4492 54 877 86 9 101 1
Deaths 4383 3158 61 631 33 3 61 6

Over the course of this epidemic, it will be common for many to experience time suspended. On a strictly clinical level, since in most cases the clinical picture is very similar to that of classic flu, the psychological mechanisms mentioned above will be reproduced, but with the major limitation that the prognosis is more uncertain. In this way, despite the data showing that prognosis is benign in 90% of cases, the affected individual—and the physician particularly—needs to manage a variable but creeping burden of anxiety. Outside the clinical context, all (both affected and unaffected) will experience increased anxiety due to travel restrictions, change in working hours and habits and not being able to go out to a bar, café, or restaurant. The deafening silence in campuses and cities binds one in a strange relationship with oneself, and to make things worse, the duration of this period is far from certain.