Coronavirus Around the World – Italy

All Eyes Have Been on the Coronavirus in Italy

OTL City Guides are designed to be the go-to for all kinds of lifestyle information. However, we never thought we’d be sharing stories about life during a global pandemic and, particularly, what’s been unfolding in Italy.

Unfortunately, lifestyle these days seems to completely revolve around the Coronavirus COV-19 crisis. While so many of us are cooped up at home, it can be easy to forget that we’re not the only ones going through this, so we’ve asked writers from around the globe to share their experiences.

A story that hits closer to home from a writer in Italy

Italy was all over the news in March of 2020. We saw horrifying images of the effects of the Coronavirus in Italy and watched as the death toll continued to rise.

In this blog post, Alessia takes us into her world as the Lombardy region went on lockdown. She shared a bit about the government response, the rules and regulations that Italians have been under for a few months, and her personal perspective.

For stories from other locations, be sure to visit our Coronavirus blog, as writers from around the world are sharing their personal thoughts. Our other latest blog post in this series is Coronavirus in South Korea, a story submitted by a young Hong Kong student who wanted to study in South Korea and not be in lockdown. We’ve also located a few places that will ship a face mask to you within a week or two.

italy during Coronavirus

‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, And I (Don’t) Feel Fine’

by Alessia, from Italy

In my dreams, I usually visit foreign lands, embark on great adventures, or sometimes meet my favorite celebrities. They’re good times where I can escape reality for a few hours.

Last night, I dreamt that I was walking through the empty aisles of a supermarket. The only moment I felt happy was when I realized the shelves weren’t bare, and everything I needed to survive was on sale.

In another timeline, I would even find it funny. But now, I’m convinced this is the result of the stress we’re all put continuously under since this pandemic started. Everyday struggles are engraved so deeply in my brain that not even in dreams, I can escape them.

The last day of normalcy

I remember clearly the last time everything felt ‘normal.’ It was one of the last days of February, I was out having dinner with my friends, and the TV at the restaurant was broadcasting the news on this newly-found virus.

At the time, there were a few cases of COVID-19 in Italy, but they were confined in the far north.

Living in one of the “forgotten regions” of the country had never felt safer for my friends and me. We were living in the illusion that the virus would never reach us, or at least it would never be as bad as it was up there.

Thinking about it now, I should have understood what was coming. That’s because, despite assuring ourselves that we felt safe, we still spent the whole dinner talking about this virus. We were all scared but tried to reason ourselves out of that fear.

The exodus

In just one week, everything changed.

The first wave of panic came with the North Exodus. When Lombardy first announced their lockdown, people assaulted the last midnight trains to go home south.

Most of them were poor college students who were afraid of never seeing their families again. At the time, the situation wasn’t clear, and people just acted out of pure hysteria. It felt like watching a movie about the end of the world.

And in a way, the world as we knew it ended.

Rapid decline

Since then, the situation only got worse. Our number of infected increased exponentially in a very short time, and with that, the number of deaths.

We had all, collectively, underestimated the virus. And now we needed to act fast to stop it from spreading further.

Living in lockdown with the Coronavirus in Italy

On March 10th, the Lombardy lockdown extended to the whole country. This means that to this day, we’re already more than a month into it, and we’ll probably spend two more months like this, if not more.

Lockdown means that you’re confined at home while a small truck sent from the mayor’s office roams the streets at least three times a day. You can’t miss it as it blasts the national anthem and inspiring messages such as “we are stronger together.” It often makes me feel like we’re living during wartime rather than a pandemic.

Living under lockdown makes you considerably rethink about what is necessary for you. I guess it’s the consequence of being allowed to leave home only one family member at a time and only for strictly essential things like groceries and medicines.

Life outside

The problem is that even when you actually go out, the fear makes you hurry back home as soon as possible.

You start to mistrust everyone, and it’s sad how you suddenly need to keep the distance from your friends, neighbors, and all the people you used to see every day. You start to miss your barista and that funny cashier at the supermarket too.

Race against time

I started to notice something melancholic in the way everyone looks at each other. There’s now an invisible wall in between, and every (brief) exchange ends with a “next time let’s hope to meet without these masks on” that never comes true.

At the time I’m writing, Italy counts 105.418 positive cases, 21.645 deaths, and 38.092 cured. Our hospitals are full, and our medical staff is doing the best they can against the impossible.

Luckily, the situation seems to be taking a turn for the best thanks to the joined efforts of the whole population, most of which respects the quarantine almost religiously.

The new divide, and a lesson from the Coronavirus in Italy

When I said it feels like the end of the world, it wasn’t to sound dramatic.

It’s just that people already started to separate “the life before the virus” from “the life after the virus” in their conversations. It’s not unusual to hear someone say, “before the virus I used to do this and that” as if it were years ago. The Coronavirus in Italy has made its mark.

Everything has changed

I think everyone is trying to hold onto the hope that this situation will end soon. But, at the same time, deep down, we all know that even when the emergency is over, nothing will be the same again.

Still, we hope that the change that this situation brought will be a positive one, that we will learn from our mistakes to build a better world.

Italy’s Coronavirus Timeline provided by Axios