Thank you everyone who has reached out over the last couple of weeks, and especially this last week everyone sharing, and tagging me in their posts of me on the news. Its been really crazy, and I never though that I would be given this platform. I will continue to share and share as well until I stop seeing people on my social media not obviously not listening.
If you have not already seen from the many news outlets that have interviewed me in the last two weeks… YES I am still here in Italy and yes I am still staying.
Italy went into “quarantine” regulations around Feb 22. when the first cases of COVID-19 were detected here. Schools shut down, and life continued like it was normal. We didn’t listen to the authorities or people saying that we should only be out if necessary.
I whole heartedly believe that is how we got into this mess in the first place.
I did it. Believe me, I regret everything I did that could have contributed to this spreading to other people here, because of my own selfish actions. I traveled to Paris, I was hanging out in Starbucks, went shopping a time or two, went to dinner with friends, and even out to a club 2 days before the country went on full lockdown. I was selfish and did not think about how this virus was really working.
In some ways, I blame the original messages we received from people about who this virus was going to attack, and how. Also who it WASN’T going to affect. My younger millennial age group (although I am right at the cut off), Gen Z, younger kids, and maybe still some adults heard : “it will affect you if you’re immune compromised, elderly or a baby”.
Once those words were spoken into existence we kept it in our heads that it was okay for us to still be out partying, it was okay for us to continue our spring break trips, it was okay to act like this wasn’t a big deal to worry about because we’re young and healthy.
Obviously we were very, very wrong.
Italy has now surpassed China with the most deaths from COVID-19. Which is absolutely terrifying in some aspects. Had we just listened at the beginning, and done the right thing, maybe we wouldn’t have had 786 deaths in 24 hours on Saturday, March 21. Maybe we would not be on a full country lockdown isolated until who knows when.
I have said that I never in a million years thought I would go to graduate school, let alone graduate school in a whole other country. Especially because Italy was not even on the top of my list of places to go this time last year. I flew here on a secret trip in April to visit a person who lives here and fell in love with the country.
Now I can honestly say I never in a million years thought I would have to have my temperature checked and stand in a 45 minute line to enter a grocery store. I never thought I would be put at risk walking down the street unless I carried a piece of paper stating that to my knowledge I do not have the coronavirus and I am just going to the store because I need water. The life I am living is something that you can only imagine out of a movie.
Believe me, I hate it at times. I get upset thinking about how I have not had a face-to-face conversation with someone in English since March 6. Most of my conversation and interactions are through my computer screen for online class or FaceTime. It’s stressful because I have worried about my mental health moving forward. How does a bubbly person like myself who talks to everyone manage to be isolated for days on end, with no real end in sight?
Then I think about the situation the United States are about to get in. I see the same patterns the people in Italy did. Schools closed and everyone saw it as a cool little vacation. Business stayed open, everyone was acting like they normally would, even though Italy just went down this same road. The only thing that put Italy in check was shutting down the whole country.
I don’t want my friends and family to be living the way I am. I do not want to see the United States pass the amount of cases or deaths. I don’t want it to come to the extreme measures such as jail or fines if you’re outside without a purpose. It’s such a weird place to be in of uncertainty what’s to come..when will it end? Those kind of questions.
So for those still not abiding by the guidance, suggestions and regulations put into place so we can get ahead of this thing, shame on you. Learn from the mistakes that Italy did. Stop blaming this on democrats or republicans and just stay inside. Sure, the media gets annoying at times with how they try to spin things..so turn it off. Sure you don’t want to be at home because it’s boring, suck it up. Think of the bigger picture. Think if all the things we will be able to do when this is over with.
I am sitting in my apartment that I have not left in 16 days except to go to the grocery store, because this virus is real. I know seniors in college who have now lost some of the greatest last moments college can offer them because this virus is real. Athletes who were on their last year of eligibility, because this virus is real. Friends who have had to move important days such as weddings, and celebrations because this virus is real. People who have lost jobs, and are taking pay/salary cuts because this virus is real. Businesses who will probably not be able to recover because this virus is real.
So if you’re still one of the ones who “doesn’t think this virus is real” because “the numbers aren’t there in the US” … tell that to the 5,476 people who have died in Italy alone in less than a month.
We all have to pray and work together as a world collectively to make this thing stop.