COVID-19: Voluntary isolation, day 3 Reflections, Italy
Yes, as the heading suggests, I am continuing the level of isolation we have had for two and a half months despite the easing of restrictions. My Italian neighbours and I last weekend shared our anxiety about the easing of the rules for the coronavirus lockdown not the least because of the crowding we saw around the bars when the rules allowed purchase of takeaway food and drinks in the previous couple of weeks. My American friends are also still anxious. We had planned to meet last evening but almost all decided it was too soon yet.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a disease that we did not have in our communities before November-December last year. It is now embedded in those communities in almost every country. Because of its virulence and easy transmission, it remains for an indefinite period a public health hazard requiring changes to personal behaviours. We have been prepped for that by over two months of restrictions.
As responsible governments initiate gradual release and rebuild their economies, it is imperative that they ensure that people understand that we cannot resume the kinds of social interactions we had before the pandemic.
COVID-19, Lockdown, the end of Phase 2, Reflections on Australia, 17 May 2020
The fact that Australia has dodged a bullet with a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases and deaths could be its undoing as it is clear that enough people don’t take the ongoing dangers of the pandemic seriously enough, nor the ongoing incompetence of governments that refused to plan for the inevitability of the pandemic and dithered on action because they place a low priority on the liberty and welfare of the people.
We are not going to go back to “normal”, especially since politically Dutton “The Fascist” and those who embrace authoritarian totalitarianism are trying to seize the opportunity to turn Australia into an authoritarian state.
COVID-19, Lockdown, the end of Phase 2, Reflections, Italy, 16 May 2020
As the COVID-19 restrictions are eased slightly on Monday, Italy faces the same problem as elsewhere – the promise of a second wave while gradually opening up the economy. Restaurants and bars will open for internal service after a couple of weeks of serving take-away food and drinks. That internal service is to maintain the social distancing of the past three months.
However, in Italy – compared to other countries – the government only imposed a one metre separation, which scientists tell us is not enough, certainly indoors.
The new decree provides for masks and gloves to be worn indoors in commercial businesses and enclosed public spaces. We are used to that now after weeks of that requirement. It has been already imposed by shops, pharmacies and supermarkets that have regulated entry to maintain social distancing.
The loosening of restrictions and stay-at-home strategies might be seen by many as an end to the crisis. That is not how pandemics work. The ignorance, stupidity and calculated callousness of national governments in the UK and the US have cost of tens of thousands of lives as a direct result of duplicitous and science-denialist inaction by so-called leaders who refused to act on the advice of scientists and medical experts and fatally held off the inevitable shutdowns to slow the spread down. Setting aside the amorality of these failures, there have been many hopes expressed by these charlatans for the easing of the virus over the northern summer. The fact is that the SARS-Cov-2 is a new virus. Scientists conducting tests on its survivability and infection do not yet have the answers. The following article – written in clear lay persons’ language – explains: “How Might the Change of Seasons Affect Covid-19?“
COVID-19, Lockdown Phase 2, Reflections, Italy, 6 May 2020
Today, 6 May, marks two months of lockdown in Italy and the third day of the slightly lifted restrictions, which continue to put staying at homer at the core of acceptable arrangements
The daily mortality figures show a national downward trend at 236 deaths in the previous 24 hours, still a very serious situation. In Umbria, there were no extra deaths and 6 new cases. More people are in the streets since the Phase 2 Declaration but for the most part respecting the social distance rules.
The problem for the United States is not just the haphazard idiocy of Trump authoritarianism and his spectacular puerile ignorance and overweening self-obsession. It is the squirrel grip of corporations and moguls from extremist corporations over government and both major Parties [this article from Business Insider has a picture of Joe Biden with two corporate donors that perfectly illustrates the problem]. These unelected and unrepresentative forces are are marked by obscene avarice, buy the loyalty of politicians , and sell out the welfare of the people, a primary democratic principle.
I realised the other day that this is my fifth consecutive Spring in Italy, and being indoors mostly, the one most missed. I first came over for three Schengen months in 2016 to decide whether I would try and live here for a longer period and, if so, where. I settled on Perugia. Who’d have thought, although at the time I had more or less made the decision in principle.
Well, this is an unexpected Spring, in lock-down and at least another month to come. Although some restrictions will be eased, the baseline of the period is staying at home, our personal protection and social conscience working together. In the months before I came, Italy suffered the grief of the Amatrice earthquake and the Norcia earthquake, both in the province of Perugia, of which my city is the capital. And the sense of community and political leaders with empathy embracing survivors played a part in my decision. I have have not a single regret about coming here to live.
I had a couple of heart attacks 17 and a half years ago, who’s counting! The second one would have killed me were I not under an oxygen mask, which minimised the damage to the heart muscle, while having an angiography. I accepted I was dying, but woke up a day and a half later in the Coronary Care Unit after emergency heart surgery.