A Letter from Italy

Friday, March 20, 2020
I've been fairly light on WuFlu (aka Covid-19, coronavirus) coverage. It's all over the news, and if you consume news at all, you can't avoid it. While I'm a retired scientist, this is not my area of expertise, so I have little to contribute, except maybe an appreciation for exponential curves.

As you may remember, Georgia's family is Italian, and we have visited Italy twice, and once met with her family there near Lucca.

Yesterday Georgia's sister, Mary received a letter from one of the Italian relatives that I would like to share:
How are you? Are you back home?

We are still fine.

But the situation is worsening. Italy is at war. Especially in northern Italy.

To date we have exceeded 30,000 infections. The official ones. Because there are those that cannot be known. There are in fact many elderly people who die without having been diagnosed with the virus, but with symptoms. In a nursing home with about thirty people present, 11 or 12 elderly people died in three days. They have not been counted, but the rest are all positive. And other retirement homes are in the same situation.

The most affected city is Bergamo. Last year there were three deaths a day; at least 100 a day this year. For a few weeks, they made a burial every half hour, including nighttime. They also use crematory ovens, but they can no longer dispose of the coffins.

And they also say that they no longer have coffins available.

The TV shows us raw images: We have seen about fifty military trucks that take a hundred coffins away from Bergamo to take them to the crematoria of other cities.

We saw the line of many funeral wagons entering the cemetery. Only funeral cars without relatives. Yes, because relatives cannot assist their own dead and sick people. They have to stay at home in quarantine. The sick are alone in hospitals. Alone in suffering and alone in death. And what is worse is that they have a clear mind: they understand what is happening to them. They cling to the looks of nurses and doctors. And they cry together.

The first deaths were older people; now even younger and younger people die. One of 27 years old; one of 32… 50…

Mayors, sportsmen and important people died. Only politicians hold up!

We saw nurses and doctors crying. Rest, from long work shifts, on the floor in the corners of hospitals. We have seen them with bruises on their faces made by anti-counting masks, those of the type for swimming. We heard them beg us: STAY AT HOME! STAY AT HOME!

We don't have enough intensive care facilities in hospitals. They are doing it in other emergency locations. The old Campo di Marte hospital has also reopened in Lucca.

We do not have suitable clothing for doctors and nurses: 10% of them are infected, sick or dead.

Tonight an intensive care nurse who was diagnosed with the virus took her own life because, they say, she couldn't think of having to suffer in her illness as she saw her patients suffer.

They also heal and what they tell us makes us understand that this virus IS NOT A SIMPLE INFLUENCE!

The images of the cities that TV shows us are bleak. Despite this, there are always too many people around who do not give a damn about the ban on leaving home for trivial things with the risk of infecting their family members and those who cross the street because this is forced by work or urgent needs.

I know from my colleagues (the banks are open !!!) that there are people - and generally old people - who go to the bank to ask for futile things that they would absolutely not need.

We're fine. Very worried, but good.

We are self-quarantined. We do not approach them or the baby.

Xxxxx and Xxxxxx are at home. Xxxxxx's firm closed almost at the beginning of the crisis. Xxxxx is home from today. They would have the job, but they cannot ship because the borders are closed for shipping and they work a lot with foreign countries.

I leave the house only in case of real need, both for us and for Xxxxx and Xxxxxx. But I'm only going to the grocery store and to the pharmacy. And I put on the rubber gloves and the mask. I made the masks because, since the beginning of the problems in Italy, I have never been able to find them. But at least they are happy: I made them with remnants of colored cloth.

We thank God that we live in the countryside. I can't imagine how people can live in those buildings in the cities.

I recommend you: stay at home. Do not be in contact with others. It can be very dangerous. STAY AT HOME!

I hug you

Xxxxxxxxx
Hopefully, the United States' experience will not match the Italians. The Italians haven't been able to agree on anything since they killed Benito Mussolini.

Linked by the Wombat in In The Mailbox: 03.20.20 at The Other McCain. Linked at 357 Magnum in
A Letter From Italy.
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