These past few days I’ve been often asked: How are you doing in Italy? Are you in quarantaine? Don’t you live in Veneto? Short answers: I’m doing fine. No. Yes.
Honestly, it’s not as crazy as it has been portrayed. Of course I could be as sensational as the newspapers and tell you about a rising number of new cases and deaths, but newspapers are amazing at fear-mongering (and Italian newspapers are no exception to the rule) and this is something I really don’t want to do. I’m neither a doctor nor a virologist and can’t tell you anything scientific about the path this virus is taking. I can only relate experiences.

Living in Cittadella has put me pretty much in the middle of everything. However, and this is important, Cittadella is not in lockdown and we can still travel relatively easily through Italy. I think if you are actually in lockdown the situation is a lot gloomier and possibly more uncomfortable. We all know that you are then obliged to stay inside your house most of the time and can only go for shopping at certain hours of the day and that there is a good chance that the army will stop you when you try to leave your town. If I were in this situation I would probably have to readjust my first answer and say instead: I’m not doing fine. Going through that would be tough and nerve wracking for most people, I’m sure.

But most of the country is not in this situation. It’s true that I have to check the news on a daily basis to see if there have been rapid changes that might lead to a lockdown in Cittadella, and it’s true that there is uncertainty about whether or not I can go to work. But I can go outside whenever I want, I can travel to any other places, besides the red zones, and I can do groceries at a time that I’d like to.

Yes, it seems to be very contagious, so I do wash my hands more often, avoid big crowds (all events have been cancelled, so there are no more big crowds) and public transport. Nevertheless, I don’t feel too constricted and am aware that this is very much a temporary situation.

There is also some important data I would like to share. More than half of the people who get the coronavirus can stay at home and do not end up in hospital. For some it turns out to be nothing more than a bad cold. Victims are either very old or when they are above fifty or, actually sixty, they already have heavy pre consisting conditions. When you’re healthy or don’t have any very troubling health issues, you’ll very likely be fine and even people who do, more often than not, manage to survive.

Of course the health of the Italian citizens is at the moment the main concern, but it will very likely not be what gets damaged the most. That will probably be the economy, but we’ll worry about that another time.

So if I’m doing fine and you’re in a country with fewer cases than Italy (which is very likely), you should not worry too much. It’s a waste of time and doesn’t do anything positive for your immune system. Relax and just enjoy the upcoming spring.

From Italy with love,

Merel

p.s. for a more updated version, check the coronavirus quarantine post. We are in entirely different situation now as described above!