“Covering Coronavirus: Cremona, Italy”: Inside Our New Podcast Episode


March 23, 2020

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.

Raney Aronson-Rath

Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, FRONTLINE



In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

U.S. Strikes Iran-Backed Militias in Syria, Responding to Rocket Attacks
The U.S. strikes destroyed facilities used by a number of Iranian-backed militias, including Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada and Kata’ib Hezbollah. The latter figured heavily in our recent documentary "Iraq's Assassins."
February 26, 2021
Saudi Crown Prince Approved Plan to "Capture or Kill" Columnist Jamal Khashoggi, According to Declassified U.S. Report
The newly declassified U.S. intelligence report names Mohammed bin Salman, subject of the 2019 documentary "The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
February 26, 2021
As the U.S. Crosses 500,000 Deaths from COVID-19, These 9 Documentaries Offer Context
These nine FRONTLINE films help explain how we reached this point.
February 22, 2021
As the U.S. Rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement, Revisit FRONTLINE’s Recent Climate Reporting
These five projects illuminate the science, politics and impacts of climate change.
February 19, 2021