So how is the lockdown working for you?

#ItalyLockDown #WorldLockDown April 3, 2020

Today was originally planned to be the day when restrictions imposed on March 9 would be lifted.

Back then, we looked at the calendar and wondered, how on earth can we survive a lockdown until April 3 – as individuals, as families cramped in our apartments, as a society?

Well, most of you are now in the exact same boat, with restrictions lasting even longer. How do we all do it? I think we complain a little, then watch the news and count our blessings. 

The tragedy on our doorsteps is in fact immense. I personally know so many people who have been deeply affected – losing a loved one without saying goodbye, or getting very sick, or suffering in so many other ways. The list grows exponentially, just like this damn virus. And we are barely starting with the economic pain.

Our health care system didn’t get close to collapse like Lombardy’s because we had a little time to prepare; the slowdown helped. Also, 11 people were airlifted from the region to ICUs in Austria and Germany, freeing precious beds and respirators. (Europe is helping, don’t believe who says otherwise ). The curve seems to be flattening now, like the one in Italy.

But the extension of the contagion in our town and in our region is simply breathtaking. And the effective death toll is very likely much higher than the official 128 — like in Bergamo, many of our towns saw an increase of deaths over the same period in previous years – and this will be true everywhere as well. Similar statistics in your locations will be appearing very soon.

How will we be able to live with this pandemic before we have a vaccine is the question that is on everybody’s mind now. The worry about if, and how, we can live a decent life with COVID19 is slowly overtaking the worry about our everyday’s life, which has basically become routine.

To no-one’s surprised, we are now supposed to shelter in place until at least Easter Monday, or Pasquetta as we call it, traditionally a day for family and friends gatherings and outings. Prepare for an influx of news stories about how Italians are reinventing the tradition during the lockdown (picnic on our balconies?), and then re-read them with Americans and the Fourth of July as the subjects.

The days seem to go by faster than one would think…   Anna and her schoolmates seem to be still pretty diligent about online classes and homework. For how long? Alex is finishing his quarantine (and looking at the UK situation with very different eyes now).

I resumed groceries shopping (no scarcity, long but very civil lines at the entrance) and turned to “quarantining” all the boxes for 72 hours on the balcony, and washing what needs to go into the fridge right away. Yeah. Maybe not needed – but why risk it?

I was also able to visits to my parents to bring medications and food. I walked around their apartment like I was on a crime scene, careful to touch the least possible amount of surfaces, wearing gloves and a mask (which makes conversations with my hard-of-hearing dad quite colorful), and staying several feet away from each one of them. This is most painful for my mom – holding her hand and looking her in the eye was the best way of communication in her advanced Alzheimer’s stage. 

And then we have the happy moments, like our neighbors’ daughter who discussed the thesis for her BA in early education from home via Skype.

We celebrated her from our legendary balconies. With the promise that we will soon have a proper party when this is over. We promised each other so many parties to last a century. But it ain’t happening anytime soon.

Stay safe and stay inside. And Washington, D.C.: it seems you have a little time advantage in terms of slowing the contagion. I hope that’s true.  Don’t waste it!

Our neighbor Chiara proudly showing her thesis that she discussed online.
We celebrated her BA clapping from our balconies.

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