Italy is entering its third week of isolation, and no singing is heard from the balconies and windows in the country that followed the first days of the epidemic. With the increase in the death toll, which is already over ten thousand, fun pictures on social networks have also decreased.
The silence in the streets is broken only by the lonely steps of a housekeeper with a dog or a person who has gone to stock up on food. The faces are hidden behind a protective mask and rubber gloves are worn on the hands. Observed distance, people do not look.
“We are a nation of infantrymen, and we lived as generals”
Although walks with pets are allowed in most parts of Italy, as well as short walks around the house, outraged voices and insults are increasingly heard about people who did not follow the rules. I witnessed a woman attack a mother with children while walking their dog.
The sight of Rome’s train station is ridiculous: video walls advertise popular fashion brands over empty platforms and halls. Only African migrants, drug addicts and the military are walking in front of the station.
“More people will end up on the street,” Giacomo says. The government announced a new 25 billion euro rescue package this week. But many, including Giacomo, do not believe that Italy, which has been on the brink of recession for more than a decade, can afford it. “We are a nation of infantrymen, and we lived as generals,” he said.
There are also reasons for hope
For four consecutive days, the number of infected people has been decreasing, which initially inspired the hope that the worst had passed. But then new cases grew again.
Italy’s Chief of Civil Defense: Death Can Be Even More Apocalyptic
The head of the Italian Civil Protection Service Angelo Borelli acknowledged something that virologists have long reported: “Because in Italy only patients are tested, the percentage of infected is probably ten times higher than officially announced”.
But there are also reasons for hope. There are now over 10,000 people who have recovered from COVID-19.
One of them, who has been breathing for the first time in 20 days without the help of a respirator, said: “I felt as if I was trying to breathe underwater but without an oxygen machine.” The man, who is a sports coach and does not suffer from chronic illnesses, said: “So far I have taken for granted so many things – such as freedom and breathing. Now I look at them with completely different eyes.”
Solidarity and responsibility are growing
In the hardest-hit regions of Lombardy and Veneto, solidarity and generosity are on the rise. People donate food and clothing, an NGO has set up a field hospital in a parking lot in Cremona. The mayor of the village of Nembro in Lombardy talks about people who “volunteer to keep those infected with dialysis and donate medicines.”
It is difficult to say exactly what Italy will be like after the end of the coronavirus crisis. But one thing is clear: she, like the rest of the world, will undergo major changes that are just beginning.