‘It can happen quickly’: U.S. nurse volunteering in Italy warns Americans

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BOONE, N.C. (CNN/WTVD) — A nurse from North Carolina volunteering in Italy has a warning for Americans who might be taking the coronavirus pandemic lightly.

“Really, we don’t want to see what’s happening here, happening in the United States,” said nurse Kelly Sites. “It can happen and it can happen quickly. It literally was three weeks before Italy, from day one to where we’re at now has been about 3.5 weeks — and happened very fast and it multiplied. The restrictions are placed on the United States aren’t for panic or hysteria, it’s a public health strategy.”

Sites is volunteering with the North Carolina non-profit Samaritan’s Purse. The group brought medical volunteers to Italy to battle the spread of COVID-19.

“We hear the sirens from when the ambulance picks up the patients and brings them to the hospital,” Sites said. “All day, all night, it’s constantly.”

Sites says she’s been a nurse for more than two decades and has volunteered across the globe. She arrived in Italy Tuesday and says she’s never seen anything quite like COVID-19.

“The streets are mostly a ghost town, because everyone is staying home,” Sites added.

When asked if she needed anything else from Americans, she urged people to do the right thing – and asked for prayers.

“That helps us be able to come home and take care of our families,” she said. “It’s hard to leave a disaster to come home to a disaster.”

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