Update from Italy: Friday, March 13

Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash

Not gonna lie. I’m jittery as hell. Everyone has something to say, someone who knows someone who really knows something. But none of it is real. We’re all just looking for an anchor, a psychological handhold on the current climbing wall. And this is in a country with a fairly transparent media, reporting numbers, and proactively testing.

People. I hope you have cancelled your trips through next month, have stocked up at least four weeks’ worth of food and OTC medicine, and have your heads screwed on straight. Get in your house and stay there. Not because you’re going to croak, but because of epidemic spread that will be very, very grave for many, many others.

We’re probably going to get Covid-19, most of us. Research shows that 40-70% of the globe will be infected this year. And 50% of those infections will require hospitalization, and maybe ventilation. And 5-10% of those will be sent to ICU. All those infections cannot happen in the next 4-6 weeks. Our medical systems worldwide, in any country, will not be able to treat the influx. And an overwhelmed medical system won’t be able to treat anyone for anything else, so do that math. People tend to need healthcare. Just in general. You know, bodies and whatnot. It’s a Buddhist precept that it is the nature of the body to fail, so we should all recognize the incredible days when everything works transparently, like some magical UI in a magical Body App.

One other thing. That quarantine? Think about what you’re going to do to stay fit, aside from having panic attacks that increase your heart rate to 80% of capacity. It’s not really the right kind of cardio anyway. We’re all gonna emerge from 4 to 8 weeks of quarantine flabby, pale, and jittery. Mini trampoline, Wii U Just Dance, Yoga with Adriene? Jason and I are going stir crazy and this is day 4. Of …. I already forgot how many days. I’m sending him to his office gym tomorrow on the slim pretext of work.

Finally. One last bit of news. They’re tightening up grocery store access in town. Yesterday it was 10-12 shoppers at a time, today it was 3-4. We might be going the China way on this (we have pretty much been doing this already); one person per day. We don’t have time slots yet. Public health officials have not come to our apartment to take our temperatures. We are not reporting our temperatures on an app, yet. No app is reporting movements of the recently infected, as they did in South Korea. But these things could happen next week. Or the week after. We both have our self-completed permission slips to be outside, motivo: attività motoria (exercise). The polizia could stop us anytime and ask us to give them these documents. I guess then we would go home to print and complete and sign another form. Still, there’s no other country in which I’d rather be in lockdown. The food is superb, people are sympathetic, and we have Chianti by the box.