• Reilly Neill

We Are Not Prepared: The News from Italy

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Since mid January 2020, I've tracked and followed the novel coronavirus spreading around the world. When this illness first appeared in China, I urged friends, family and colleagues to prepare for a pandemic.

Although I'm only an amateur scientist, I am a historian, an investigative reporter and a person more than capable of looking at a broad set of facts and drawing conclusions. It was apparent: this virus had every hallmark of a plague, a Spanish flu, a black death.

It's here now, in America, and it is spreading unchecked in our communities. Many I know have come around to my understanding that this is not something one can dodge. We still know so little about this virus but we can take the lessons of those around the world who have already suffered. We need to take these lessons NOW and self-isolate. Not tomorrow or next week but TODAY. If you cannot work from home, do what you can to protect yourself.


Read below. This is an account of someone from a message board I follow. The moderators of the board have verified the account and the poster as authentic. Read below and share this with your friends, family and fellow citizens. The time to prepare is right now.

From a Italian Citizen: (Posted 3/13/20)

First thing first I'm sorry for any eventual grammar errors but English isn't my first language

As I think everybody knows, Italy is on quarantine because of the coronavirus outbreak. That means that everybody has to stay home unless you've got valid reasons to go out. This situation is bad, but what's worse is seeing the rest of the world behaving as if it isn't going to happen to them. We know what you're thinking because we were in your place too. Let's see how thing developed (keep in mind it all happened in around 2 weeks).

STAGE 1. You know that coronavirus exists, and the first cases begin to appear in your country. Well, nothing to worry about, it's just a bad flu! I mean I'm not 75+yo so what could possibly happen to me? I'm safe, everybody is overreacting, what's the need to go out with masks and stock toilet paper? I'm going to live my life as usual, there's no need to freak out.

STAGE 2. The number of cases begins to be significant. They declare "red zone" and quarantine one or two small cities where they found the first cases and a lot of people were infected (~2/22). Well that's sad and somewhat worrisome but they're taking care of it so nothing to panic about. There are some deaths but they're all old people with other pathologies so the media is just trying to create panic for views, how shameful. People lead their life as usual, I mean I'm not going to stop going out and meeting my friends and so on am I? There's no need to. It's not going to get me. Everybody's fine here.

STAGE 3. The number of cases is rapidly going up. They almost doubled in one day. There's more deaths. They declare red zones and quarantine the 4 regions where the majority of cases are registered (3/7). In Italy at this point 1/4 of the county is under quarantine, schools and universities are closed in these areas but bars, work places, restaurants and so on are still open. The decree gets released by some newspaper before it should so around 10k people from the red zone escape from the area that same night to return to their homes in the rest of Italy (this will be important later). Most of the population of the remaining 3/4 of Italy still does what it always does, a portion of the quarantined too. They still don't realize the seriousness of the situation.

I mean yes, [at that time] everywhere you turn they talk about the coronavirus, they advise to wash your hands and limit your going out, assemblies of large numbers of people are forbidden and so on, every 5 minutes on TV they remind you of these rules. But it still hasn't settled in people's minds.

STAGE 4. The number of cases is heavily increasing. Schools and universities are closed everywhere for at least a month. It's a national health emergency. Hospitals are at capacity, entire units are cleared to make space for coronavirus patients. There aren't enough doctors and nurses, they're calling retired ones and those who are in the last 2 years of university, there's no shifts any more, just work as much as you can. Of course doctors and nurses are getting infected, spreading it to their families and so on. There's too many cases of pneumonia, too many people who need ICU and not enough places for everyone. The same goes for respiratory aids (I don't know if that's the correct name).

At this point is like being at war: doctors have to choose who to treat based on their survival chance, that means that the elderly and trauma/stroke patients can't get treated because corona cases have the priority. There's not enough resources for everybody so they have to be distributed for the best outcome. I wish I was joking but it's literally what has been happening. People have died because there wasn't any more space, I have a doctor friend who called me devastated because he had to let 3 people die that day, nurses crying because they see people dying in front of them and can't do anything aside from offering some oxygen. A friend's relative died yesterday of corona because they couldn't treat him. Chemos have been delayed until further notice. It's chaos, the system is collapsing. Coronavirus and the crisis it's provoking is all you hear about everywhere.

STAGE 5. Remember the 10k idiot who ran from the red zone to the rest of Italy? Well, the entire country has to be declared under quarantine (3/9). The goal is to delay the spreading of the virus as much as possible. People can go to work, do the grocery shopping, go to the pharmacy, and all businesses are still open because otherwise the economy would collapse (it already is), but you can't move from your commune (which is like a municipality I guess) unless you have a valid reason. Now there's fear, you see a lot of people with masks and gloves around but there are still are people who think that they're invincible, who go to restaurants in large groups, hang out with friends to drink and so on. Next step.

STAGE 6. 2 days later, it's announced that all (most) businesses are closed: bars, restaurants, shopping centers, all kinds of shops etc. Everything except supermarkets and pharmacies. You can move around only if you have an autocertification with you, which is an official document in which you declare your name, where you're coming from, where you're going and what for. There are a lot of police check points, if you're found outside without a valid reason you risk a fine up to €206, and if you're a known positive patient you risk from 1 to 12 years of jail for homicide.So that's what the situation is like now today as of the 12/03.

Keep in mind that it all happened in around 2 weeks, 5 DAYS FROM STAGE 3 TO NOW.

The rest of the world apart from Italy, China and Korea is just now beginning to reach the other stages, so let me tell you this: you have no idea what's coming to get you. I know because 2 weeks ago I was the one who had no idea and though that it wasn't that bad. But it is. And not because the virus alone is particularly dangerous or deadly, but for all the consequences it brings. It's hard to see all these countries act like it's not coming and not taking the precautions that are necessary for the well-being of its citizens while they still can, so please if you're reading this try to act in your best interest.

This problem isn't going to solve itself by ignoring it. Just wondering how many undiscovered cases there might be in America alone is scary, and they're in for a big, big trouble because of how their country is run. Our government for once did a good job I must say. The actions taken were drastic but necessary, and this may be the only way to limit the spreading. It's working in China so we hope it will work here too (it's already working in some of the first red zones which were quarantined before everybody else). Also they're taking measures to protect us citizens such as suspending mortgage payments for next months, help for shop owners who were obligated to close and so on.I realize that these takes are really difficult, if not impossible, to take in some countries, and it's really worrying to think about what it could mean in global scale.

I see a very dark time ahead of us all over the world and it makes me so angry to see all these countries not taking action while they can. I wonder if this pandemic will be a turning point in our society, what do you think?

So guys, if there are cases where you live, then the virus is spreading, and you're maybe 1 or 2 weeks behind us, but you'll get to our point eventually. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take any precaution you can take, don't act like it's not going to get you, and, if you can, STAY HOME.(Avete capito italiani? STATE. A. CASA.)

Edit 2: this post was written yesterday morning, A LOT happened in A LOT of countries in the meanwhile, and that's a good thing!

Edit: YES, there's food for everybody, plenty of food, grocery shopping is not a problem at all. We can go grocery shopping, it's comprehended in the necessities.YES, we can take our dog for a walk, it's comprehended in the necessities. You have to follow the rules (1 mete rule, avoid crowds etc) and have the autocertification. Can I go for a walk alone? I mean, the could possibly fine me but I don't think it has happened; have your walk if you need, always respecting the rules, but it's a health emergency so it's better to avoid it if you can.

People here rushed several times to supermarkets in order to stock things up, but this is silly cause supermarkets are all open and there are not shortages of any kind of things. Rushing in mass to supermarkets will only help spreading the virus. The only things you need to buy are masks and hand sanitizers (please don't exceed, other people may need them also, you don't need to buy 500 liters of hand sanitizers).

Safety rules are simple: stay home as much as you can, leave only if necessary, stay away 1 meter at least from other people, don't touch your face, wash hands frequently. If you show symptoms like fever, coughing, don't go to the hospital (this will cause ERs to shut down for sanification if you end up positive to the virus) but call your family doctor (I don't know if there are in your country) or numbers given by the government. Remember: this is a war. we can only win if everyone does exactly what the government is asking us to do. Sorry for my bad english. Good luck.

The original link to this post can be found here.

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