Dear all,

First of all, I’m very happy about the result of the US elections. Makes 2020 just a little bit more enjoyable.

But let’s get to the main topic: covid in Italy.
Numbers are not great. I was hoping for some stricter measures, because (honestly) I was looking forward to being able to visit at least one family around Christmas. So, my reasons for stricter measures may be a little bit selfish. However, I truly believe they would serve the entire nation, but it’s not up to me to decide that.

Anyway, the country has been divided into three (technically four, but no region is green, so it’s irrelevant right now) zones. Red, orange and yellow. Currently, we’re still in the yellow zone in Veneto, but this can change any week, possibly even any day if things really go sour. The yellow zone is quite a cheerful zone to be in. You’re allowed to travel from region to region (that is, other yellow regions), although you’re asked to minimise this, of course. High schools are closed (the Italian school system can be different from your own country. They have an elementary school, a middle school and a high school. In some countries there is only primary and secondary school) and lessons can be followed online. Restaurants and bars are open during the day, but the hours have been restricted. You’re advised not to invite anybody at home, but if you must, you’ll have to limit the numbers drastically (obviously). You have to wear a mask indoors and outdoors (except for when you’re roaming around empty forests). All large gatherings have been cancelled. Gyms, theatres, museums, etc. are closed. Most shops are open, but bigger shopping centres are closed on weekends. Oh, yes, there is a curfew from 22.00 until 5.00.

The orange zone (a couple of central and southern regions are currently in this state) means that you can no longer travel from region to region. Everything that has been closed in the yellow zone, has also been closed in the orange zone, but bars, restaurants and shops are added to this list, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies. The curfew remains the same.

Then the dreaded red zone (this includes some of the northern regions). You are no longer allowed to leave your city / municipality. Middle schools have also been closed. You can’t inivite anyone over and I believe that walks outisde are rather limited, so this zone resembles the lockdown in March and April, except for all schools being closed during that lockdown and I believe elementary schools are still open now, because children are devils and parents can’t handle them, apparently. The curfew is not different from the two other zones.

Personally, I think that every region in Italy should be at least orange, because I think that the state is responsible for healthcare in the first place and when you can no longer offer healthcare like you should, it means that you have to make more drastic decisions that will probably not be in favour of the economy. And even though I understand that this will be tough for companies, I don’t see any other way. Besides, I believe that Europe is rich enough to avoid nations and companies from going bankrupt. Unfortunately, I’m not the one in charge, so the least I can do is take my own responsibility.

Also in Italy there are still people convinced that Covid is nothing more than a flu. Well, as these people are hardly ever doctors working in the hospitals or virologists, I would advise them to discuss their point of view with a nurse who has just finished a sixteen-hour shift, because of, apparently, a flu (and I would really like to witness that converstation). But especially for these people, I have devised a short tale, to help them understand the gravity of the situation:
Let’s call our main character Humphrey. Now, Humphrey is walking down the street in the red zone after 22.00, minding his own business and not taking care of the fact that he should not be roaming the streets at all at that time (I mean, Humphrey just thinks it’s a flu, right?). A bus driver who has just finished his shift (and is therefore allowed to roam the streets) and returning to the station, doesn’t expect Humphrey to be out and about, speeds up a little bit and accidentally runs him over. Humphrey is only half dead at this point. Obviously, the bus driver immediately calls for an ambulance, but because there have been Humphreys around infecting people, the ambulances are a little bit busy picking up Covid patients. By the time they get to Humphrey, Humphrey is 2/3 dead. They bring him to the hospital. Alas, all IC rooms are occupied by Covid patients. Humphrey will just have to wait a little bit more. By the time Humphrey is rushed to an empty bed, he’s already 3/4 gone. Doctors are nowhere in sight, because they already have more patients than they can handle and the next scene will not be Humphrey who’s getting proper care, but a headstone which reads: R.I.P. Humphrey, the man who thought Covid was only a flu.
Now, we don’t care much about the Humphreys, because they’re horrible human beings, but this could also happen to people who have been behaving well and keeping to rules and unfortunately got terribly sick in another way.

So, I hope that all the Humphreys out there who feel incredibly indignant about being forced into an orange or red zone, will now understand why they’re just being silly.

From Italy with love,

Merel