Update from Italy: Evening of Wednesday, March 11

National Cinema Museum, Torino, Italy. Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

Today merits an additional post as I struggle to understand, in the middle of all this, here in Italy, where we are, and where we might be headed.

Everything here is a bit pins and needles. Everyone wants to know if the country-wide red zone designation is working. It’s not the worst thing in the world, to be cooped up in a fourth-floor apartment with all internal windows and a healthy family of four (mom, dad, two little kids). It’s not. But what people want to know is, what Italians want to know is, is it working? Are we successfully flattening the curve, are the medical professionals going to get a breather?

A site I have been following for three weeks says that no, the curve is not flattening. Our daily increase of new Covid-19 cases went up about 25%, from roughly 10,000 to 12,500 positive patients today. And the day-over-day increase on morbidity is about 35%, from roughly 630 to 830 deaths.

Some other people on my social network are cheering that the numbers have gone down! Look at this site from the Protezione Civile, which seems to indicate that the new case positives today has plummeted about 66%, from 1,600 to 530 patients. The Italian wiki I track for the epidemic seems to take its numbers from the Worldometer site and not the Protezione Civile site. And this information is trying to be as transparent as possible. What can it all mean? Are we going up or down? Incubation is two to twenty something days; someone could be sick for one to two weeks before they succumb; someone could have been incubating for one to three weeks before that. Where are we on this curve? The advance on illness and fatality is weeks. How can the PC record a drop so steep, the literal day after the countrywide isolating measures were implemented?

How? I ask Jason, turning around from my desk.

Jason sighs and shrugs. Pours another glass of Chianti. He’s had enough for today; his office is open.

I wonder what they’re doing with the deceased+, and how they will make provisions for funerals after the epidemic, since by law no funerals can be held at the moment.

This is day 2 of 28 days home with the kids. Twenty-six more days to go.

On a side note, the piano nobile in our palazzo appears to be rented out to bored tourists, smoking off the balcony. I saw one of the guys from the playground, and he looked a lot to me like the White Stripes. (Jack, is it you?! Last night, she said!)

I think we’re still on an uptick. I wish it weren’t so, but I believe it’s the case.