“Covering Coronavirus: Cremona, Italy”: Inside Our New Podcast Episode
In recent days, Italy has become the new, global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with its death toll surpassing China’s and its health care system stretched to the breaking point.
For our producer Sasha Achilli (pictured, above), this story is personal. She was born and raised in Northern Italy — and now, she’s filming there with doctors and nurses on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19.
“You know, with every story I am, in a way, living the story,” Sasha tells me. “But I’m also an outsider, and I’m an observer. This feels… it’s my story, it’s your story. It feels really, really close to home.”
In the newest episode of “Covering Coronavirus,” a special podcast series from the FRONTLINE Dispatch, I speak with Sasha about reporting from her home country while it’s in the grip of a deadly pandemic, what she’s seeing as she films inside a hospital in hard-hit Cremona, and the message doctors there have for the U.S. as cases here rise.
“They’re saying, ‘get ready,’” Sasha tells me.
This isn’t the first time Sasha has filmed in the midst of an infectious disease outbreak. She was part of the team that led our investigation into missteps in the global response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa — and she says that in some ways, COVID-19 is even more frightening.
“There are many people who are asymptomatic who can be spreaders but don’t have symptoms,” she says. “And that is what’s so different and terrifying about this virus versus Ebola.”
For the full conversation, listen to “Covering Coronavirus: Cremona, Italy,” from the FRONTLINE Dispatch. It’s available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, RadioPublic, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.