A medical worker treats patients suffering from coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in an intensive care unit at the Oglio Po hospital in Cremona, Italy on March 19, 2020 [Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters]

Names marked with an asterisk* have been changed to protect identities.

Turin, Italy – It is 5am and Annalisa Baldi is about to start her shift in a COVID-19 ward at the Cremona hospital, southeast of Milan, in Lombardy.

Wearing her usual uniform and a surgical mask, the 34-year-old nurse heads to the dressing area to prepare.

She thoroughly washes her hands with special sanitiser and puts a protective suit on top of her clothing. She pulls on a pair of gloves.

“Until the end of my shift, these gloves become my skin,” Baldi told

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