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Hospital Turns Scuba Masks Into Ventilators As Supplies Run Low

A hospital in northern Italy has desperately resorted to utilising scuba masks, as ventilators run low and the country's coronavirus deaths climb.

COVID-19 has claimed nearly 1,000 lives in Italy in the past 24 hours.

Doctors at the Maggiore Hospital in Parma are using a 3D printer to modify scuba masks so they connect to oxygen.

It's a quick fix Dr Franceso Minardi likens to wartime triage.

"You can turn a scuba mask into a ventilator?" CBS News asked.

"Yes," Minardi said. "We started yesterday."

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What Australia Can Learn From Italy's Coronavirus Crisis

An Italian-Australian health policy expert is begging Aussies to sacrifice temporary happiness for the greater good, pointing to his home country's escalating coronavirus crisis as a warning.

CBS News was given rare access inside the hospital's ICU unit. Before entering, the team suited up in protective gear.

The virus hasn't been easy on the nation's hospital system. So far, more than 40 doctors in the country have died of the virus.

ICU boss Sandra Rossi said one of those who had died was a doctor and friend.

"He was fantastic and we are still crying," Rossi said.

Rossi offered a message for her fellow doctors in the U.S.: "Hurry up, hurry up."

When asked if she thought America was ready for what she's seeing in Italy, Rossi said, "If I have to be honest, no."