CAORSO, Italy (AP) — Wearing full-body protective gear, Dr. Luigi Cavanna visits his patients in their homes in small towns and rural areas in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy.



Doctor Luigi Cavanna, left, visits COVID-19 patient Arnaldo Michelotti in his home in Gossolengo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna, left, visits COVID-19 patient Arnaldo Michelotti in his home in Gossolengo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)



Doctor Luigi Cavanna, right, walks with his nurse assistant Gabriele Cremona after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Travo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna, right, walks with his nurse assistant Gabriele Cremona after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Travo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

The peaceful countryside setting may be different from the crowded city hospitals, but the disease is the same.



Doctor Luigi Cavanna, center, and his assistant nurse Gabriele Cremona visits COVID-19 patient Giancarlo Salvi as Salvi's wife Luciana Botti looks at them from the background, in their home in San Nicolo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna, center, and his assistant nurse Gabriele Cremona visits COVID-19 patient Giancarlo Salvi as Salvi’s wife Luciana Botti looks at them from the background, in their home in San Nicolo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

He checks his patients’ oxygen levels, uses ultrasound to scan their lungs and tests them and their relatives for COVID-19. Many of them don’t need to or don’t want to be taken to a hospital and are grateful to Cavanna for coming to see them in their homes.



Doctor Luigi Cavanna leaves a COVID-19 patient's home in Monticelli d'Ongina, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna leaves a COVID-19 patient’s home in Monticelli d’Ongina, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

“It is priceless when the sick ask us what they owe us. They want to give us a reward, but their gratefulness and their sense of feeling cared for is what rewards us immensely,” Cavanna told Associated Press journalists following him on a round of house calls.



Doctor Mauro Morganti checks a patient's oxygen saturation level with a pulse oximeter during a house call, in Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Mauro Morganti checks a patient’s oxygen saturation level with a pulse oximeter during a house call, in Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

At 70, he could have retired in March but decided to keep on working as doctors were in high demand in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic with more than 60,000 dead.



Doctor Luigi Cavanna, right, talks with COVID-19 patient Giancarlo Salvi's wife Luciana as he listens from the couch, in their home, in San Nicolo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna, right, talks with COVID-19 patient Giancarlo Salvi’s wife Luciana as he listens from the couch, in their home, in San Nicolo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

“Some would say, ‘why are you there taking risks? because while this virus can be problematic for the younger people, for the older it can be very dangerous,'” the doctor said. “In the end I didn’t make any self-protection calculations. I just tried to work like I always have.”



Doctor Luigi Cavanna, right, and his nurse assistant Gabriele Cremona are reflected in a puddle after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Travo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna, right, and his nurse assistant Gabriele Cremona are reflected in a puddle after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Travo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Like other Italian doctors making house calls, he says there’s a more intimate relationship with patients when you see them in their homes. He also feels he’s helping the hospitals by freeing up space for patients who can’t receive treatment at home.



Medicine packages are placed beneath notes indicating their daily routine, next to logs for a wood oven in the home of a COVID-19 patient in Travo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Medicine packages are placed beneath notes indicating their daily routine, next to logs for a wood oven in the home of a COVID-19 patient in Travo, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Dr. Mauro Morganti, who works in neighboring Lombardy, the Italian region that has recorded the most positive cases, has made house calls since 1996.



Doctor Mauro Morganti puts on protective gear before entering a home to visit a COVID-19 patient, in Talamona, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Mauro Morganti puts on protective gear before entering a home to visit a COVID-19 patient, in Talamona, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

As the pandemic surged in Lombardy in the spring, he was “terrified like everyone” and at times hesitant about visiting patients in their homes.



Doctor Mauro Morganti wears protective gear as he leaves after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Mauro Morganti wears protective gear as he leaves after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

But when two of his patients died, he felt a renewed sense of commitment.



Doctor Mauro Morganti talks with Milena Barlascini after visiting her mother, COVID-19 patient Gemma Bianchini, at their home, in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Mauro Morganti talks with Milena Barlascini after visiting her mother, COVID-19 patient Gemma Bianchini, at their home, in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

“I was quite traumatized by the fact I hadn’t been there for them, I hadn’t seen them,” he said.



Doctor Mauro Morganti checks on COVID-19 patient Gemma Bianchini, center, as her daughter Mirella stands by, in her home in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Mauro Morganti checks on COVID-19 patient Gemma Bianchini, center, as her daughter Mirella stands by, in her home in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

“I chose to take a few more risks, but attend to my patients personally,” he said. “And I think it’s better this way.”



Doctor Mauro Morganti removes his protective gear after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Mauro Morganti removes his protective gear after doing a house call on a COVID-19 patient, in Campo Tartano, near Sondrio, Italy, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

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Doctor Luigi Cavanna wears protective gear as he walks in a corridor to leave after visiting COVID-19 patient Maria Teresa Orsi in her home, in Monticelli d'Ongina, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)


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Doctor Luigi Cavanna wears protective gear as he walks in a corridor to leave after visiting COVID-19 patient Maria Teresa Orsi in her home, in Monticelli d’Ongina, near Piacenza, Italy, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

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