“Everything started from the 40,000 supporters at San Siro watching Atalanta-Valencia” – Prof. Francesco Le Foche

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According to the experts, the football game between Atalanta and Valencia played at San Siro on the 19th February is the underlying reason for the outbreak of the epidemic in Bergamo

On the 19th of February, merely a month ago, the Coronavirus was a distant threat, seemingly confined to China. No one was aware of the silent contagion, Italy had not yet identified “patient 1” from Codogno, and life was normal.

That evening at San Siro, more than 40,000 football fans were eagerly witnessing the historic feat of Atalanta, that during the away game for the Champions League qualifiers had beaten Valencia 4-1, meaning it had a good chance to qualify to the Quarter Finals, which was then confirmed by their success in Spain on the 10th of March. A disaster in the making.

Atalanta vs Valencia

And this game has become the focus for the experts. Prof. Francesco Le Foche, expert in immunology, Head of the day hospital specialising in Infectious Diseases at the Policlinico Umberto I  in Rome, explains. “What is happening in Bergamo is an indication of a series of factors which have led to the outbreak of the epidemic, that can be called a global anomaly. It is only in the region of Bergamo that we are witnessing this situation of infection and this high rate of mortality. One must understand that the region of Bergamo is a very particular area. There are specialised industries, European industries, the people are very industrious, an area which is visited by people from around the world. They are in direct contact with Europe, and with the rest of the world. This situation has led to a predisposition to contamination. Moreover, the people of Bergamo are very hardworking, they are very protective and proud of their employment, will go to work even when they are feeling unwell, this is something which could have easily led to the spread of the infection.

Besides all this, the recent performances of Atalanta, especially during Champions League, where the team continued to obtain fantastic results, may have come to a head on the 19th of February. More than 40,000 fans went to San Siro, then to the bars to celebrate on the following days. These celebrations, the shared joy in witnessing and celebrating these historic wins, have possibly all contributed to the outbreak of a pre-existing condition.”

Atalanta vs Valencia

The 38-year old woman who resulted positive to the virus at Fiumicino in Rome just 10 days after the game had been one of the spectators watching the ill-fated game at San Siro stadium.

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