Italians had known about the ‘Corona Virus’ in China for more than a month, having seen the news reports about how the Chinese Government treated the outbreak. This news seemed to be something from a distant land that could never reach the Italian peninsula because it was the kind of circumstance that only occurred to ‘other countries,’ a very natural reaction, as many other populations reacted. Thus, people were late in executing any emergency measures. At one point in early January, an Italian manager was suggested to come up with an emergency plan, but this was not the first time this manager had been advised to lay down guidelines for shielding people from the normal Individuals with regular flu were in control. Instead of living in fear of the Corona Virus, which was considered ‘unlikely’ to spread beyond China, one had to think positively however.
People from all backgrounds, not just Italians, tend to look at life more favorably from a positive point of view; however, often hoping for the best is the equivalent of kicking the bucket down the road to someone else. Politicians are now trying to find a solution to help small businesses facing difficulties during this time of difficulty, and money is being allocated to help families with children who need to keep a mother or a parent at home to watch the children whose schools have recently been locked. On the surface, these seem to be the best solutions to problems facing the country, but the long-term effects could potentially bury the nation in outstanding debt, causing difficulties for future generations.
Not only have they banned embraces, kisses, and handshakes. Soccer games open to spectators were also banned for 30 days by Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s decree. This has upset most Italians, even though many contend that even soccer players should be entitled to keep their distance from each other. In addition, all sporting activities have to be held behind closed doors until April 3rd, something that remains unimaginable in the country renowned for kisses on the cheeks.
Throughout February and March 2020, COVID-19 had significantly interfered with the practice of religion, especially the Catholic faith. The author yesterday visited Santo Stefano Church in Borgomanero, where the custodians had just washed the floors and disinfected the sanctuary. There was no living soul to be found, nor a priest nor a tourist, which permitted the author to dwell in silence on the frescoes and the beautiful stained-glass windows. If you travel through Italy this month, you will find several churches without parishioners, because people are instinctively afraid to meet each other in closed spaces, no matter how big and welcoming they might be. Priests are urged to withhold the holy water from Catholic Churches for fear of transmitting the virus. Although people and visitors can visit holy shrines, church services must be conducted via television and internet. Moreover, churches have been closed because in recent years, when churches and shrines are not guarded, people have started stealing religious artifacts from them.
People who used to hate watching the news because they usually detest politics are now glued to the television to see what’s going to happen next, whether or not they can stock up on food and gloves, whether or not they’ll go to work and who’ll help them overcome the crisis.
All seems to be waiting in suspense as Italy is planning to reopen on May 4, after the first coronavirus crisis. There’s a lot of helicopter money dialogue, which should help companies get back on track while avoiding the possibility of a horrible recession. Not surprisingly, every evening Italian citizen gather around the TV to hear about the latest news related to the calamity of coronavirus. By now, even though the majority stays in apartments or villas that are very different from small cabins, most young Italians have cabin fever. Being restricted to other people at home for a long time takes extraordinary patience and willingness to be diplomatic at times, because people are no longer used to spending long periods together. For this reason, Italian psychologists have finally decided to do online psychological therapy for their patients, even after arguing in person for years that it was more successful.
Until recently, it was standard for Italians to say they do not like being drawn into politics because understanding what their representatives are doing seems too complicated. Nevertheless, over the last two months they have been drawn into politics by the emergency coronavirus. Each evening, the same celebrities appear on TV, as movie stars, including Matteo Salvini, Silvio Berlusconi, Giorgia Meloni, Matteo Renzi, and Luigi di Maio. If Italian politics had once been too perplexing to grasp in the past, people recently had plenty of time to get acquainted with the different approaches proposed by each politician to overcome the coronavirus dilemma. Like politicians from other countries around the globe, Italian politicians are conducting numerous debates, shouting matches and even trying to set aside their differences for the country’s sake, as hard as that might be.
The Italian public broadly accepts as accurate that the COVID-19 pandemic is real because nearly everyone knows someone who has either died or who has had a passing family member. Since Italians generally take the coronavirus seriously, many summer festivals and concerts have already been cancelled and people over fifty would have attended. It’s unclear if younger Italians would be able to gather when they actually open at popular Discotheques, but they will possibly do so, becoming less afraid than their elders. Maybe they’ll remember the earlier TV news when some virologists assured them that the coronavirus was mainly lethal to those over 65.