It is the second week of the COVID-19 termination in Italy. The whole country is in the so-called “red zone”. About three weeks ago, people refused to take this virus seriously, partly because Dr. Maria Rita Gismondo, the director of the microbiology, virology and bio-emergency laboratory at Luigi Sacco University Hospital in Milan had reported that it was no more than the common flu and that the virus would not have been discussed after a week (by March 4). She thought the Italian audience had been brainwashed collectively by the media and stated: “C’e ‘stato un lavaggio del cervello collettivo.“She wasn’t the only influential person who thought there was little to fear. So many people did not know what to think. For example, I wondered why the Chinese had put so much effort into fighting this virus if it wasn’t so deadly. I remained concerned, although thanks to Dr. Gismondo thought it was still safe to circulate carefully. Likewise, many employers continued to force their employees to work, thinking that Dr. Gismondo and a few other “experts” were right.
In Cremona, one of the regions affected by COVID-19, about 60 Americans representing the “Samaritan’s Purse” have decided to provide relief by supplying Maggiore Hospital with the necessary materials to come from the United States. These Americans have generously supplied medical equipment in terrible conflicts such as Somalia, Rwanda, Afghanistan and Iraq (according to Corriere della Sera). Their staff consists of sixty people, including doctors and technicians. Sixty beds and eight places for intensive therapy will be built. These volunteers have already met Giuseppe Rossi, the director of the Maggiore hospital. Mayor Gianluca Galimberti is grateful that these Good Samaritans have arrived in Italy.
Local leaders are calling for the standards to be respected as disease rates continue to rise. In the evening, the streets of Milan are empty. The President of the Lombardy Region, Attilio Fontana, begs the citizens to stay at home because he says more drastic measures will have to be taken if people outside the numbers do not decrease; any exit home is a risk to the person leaving the home and to others.
On Wednesday morning at the Casa Santa Marta chapel, Pope Francis prayed for the deceased and for the caregivers who gave their lives for others. He prayed to God to end the pandemic and to heal sick people. Pope Francis urges the population not to waste this time, to try to get closer to their family and to spend time thinking sensibly. In addition, a major conference that Pope Francis would attend later in March, “The Economy of Francis” in Assisi, has been postponed due to the seriousness of the corona virus situation.
Marcello Natali, a 57-year-old physician, secretary of Provincial Physicians in Lodi, gave his life, fighting to the end to save his patients. Although he had no pre-existing conditions, he failed to make it, showing that anyone can fall prey to COVID-19. According to Corriere della Sera (March 18, 2020), Natali was placed on intensive therapy on March 11 after pleading with the government to conduct more tests for the bourgeoisie. Not long after, he was transferred to Milan. Like many other doctors, nurses and volunteers who have worked many hours during this emergency, Marcello Natali will remain a hero forever.
Many Italians have used the internet to keep in touch with friends and family. Neighborhood solidarity groups have been formed on Facebook, Instagram and other social networking sites. Many people who have never used these sites before are now using them to cheer each other up and offer suggestions for troubleshooting. A Facebook user posted old photos of community members when they were little so other members could join in on who those kids were. Others took more recent pictures of nature.
Italians on Facebook want to know who will deliver food, water, and even pizza to their local home. Many comment on how people should respond to this international emergency (i.e. by not walking too much through the village and staying in as much as possible). Many argue about what is acceptable exercise; is walking outdoors really allowed during this difficult time when everyone has to be locked up indoors? Do you have to “run” to move around the city? Fortunately, local priests have set up online religious services, prayers and the masses to unite the bourgeoisie and give them faith. Help them remain calm so that they overcome their fear of COVID-19 soon. May their prayers be answered!