Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has revealed he is fighting a ‘hellish’ case of coronavirus and told supporters he ‘hopes to make it’ after doctors said he was ‘No 1’ for the severity of his viral load.
The 83-year-old Berlusconi, who was admitted to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital on Friday morning, made the comments during a phone call to a candidate from his Forza Italia party during an election rally in northwest Italy.
Berlusconi spoke to supporters in a clear voice, relaying that doctors have told him his viral load is the worst out of thousands of patients tested at San Raffaele.
‘[The virus] is very bad,’ he said. ‘I’m giving it my all, I hope to make it and to get back on track.’
During the call Berlusconi urged supporters to vote in upcoming regional elections and promised he was ‘fighting to leave behind this infernal illness.’
He said: ‘I hope to make it and return in person to fight our battles.’
Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi (pictured in 2019) was admitted to hospital for coronavirus on Friday morning. He said during a phone call last night that doctors said his viral load was worse than thousands of others tested at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan
On Wednesday, his personal doctor Alberto Zangrillo said Berlusconi’s progress was ‘favourable’ and all his clinical parameters were ‘very comforting.’
Zangrillo has said he is responding well to treatment but has noted that Berlusconi’s age and condition – he has a pacemaker – make him at higher risk of complications.
On Sunday, Dr Zangrillo said the three-time premier was responding ‘optimally’ to the virus but repeated his concerns, adding that he was ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Berlusconi’s recovery.
Berlusconi turns 84 in a few weeks and has had a history of heart problems that required a pacemaker several years ago.
Alberto Zangrillo, Silvio Berlusconi’s longtime physician, speaks to reporters at the San Raffaele hospital in Milan on 4 September
At the time of his admission to San Raffaele, he was showing signs of early stage lung infection.
Earlier in the week he said he tested positive but showed no symptoms.
Then he said he had a fever and felt achy but still vowed to campaign for his Forza Italia party in upcoming regional elections.
On Wednesday, Italy recorded another 1,434 new infections and 14 deaths to bring the official death toll in the one-time European epicentre of the pandemic to 35,577.