In January the media were talking about a flu in China that was infecting many people, while here in Italy, very few seemed to be concerned about the situation. It was being talked about as a "distant thing", that's all.
On the other hand, it often happens that when something does not touch you closely, you underestimate it, despite the solidarity that can be shown in these cases towards the adversities that another people is forced to face.
The days passed and less and less was said about it, it seemed to be over and almost everyone was sure that the matter would never involve you and would be resolved soon.
In the middle of March, however, here are the first alarms, the first positives were found, the news was talking about some people coming home from a trip to China who, being asymptomatic, infected other people without to know it.
But this was still underestimated by everyone, after a couple of weeks there was a total panic, the positives were increasing and as a result the deaths were reaching worrying numbers.
The first official recommendations came from the government and authorities, the first of all to avoid mass assemblies. That said, thousands of people literally assaulted supermarkets, probably believing that overnight there would be no more food.
This was one of the causes of the increase of infected people to the current situation, which has almost 16k deaths and a number of infected that the official data says they are around 132k.
The region most affected in terms of the number of deaths and infections is Lombardy, Aosta Valley instead, region where I live, having only a little more than 120k inhabitants, is the one that counts the highest percentage of both.
More and more behavioral norms regarding containment have arrived passing time, and they are still coming, Italians have managed to break every single advice they have been given, such as hundreds of people who go shopping several times a day for taking a walk, group walks and relaxing stops on the benches.
The only small consolation seems to be that they can count on the fact that they are not the only ones on the planet to think superficially about this infection, which is making a real carnage.
Really big the difference between North and South, where the first is in a full crisis, workers at home without salaries, commercial and tourist activities blocked and with a dark prospective as far as the near future is concerned, the other seems to be living in a certain indifference, at least as far as the media are showing us, they seem to be living in another country while all around them already have clear examples of the mistakes made by those who have underestimated the situation and are now paying the consequences. For the moment everything is going well over there, they have contained it well and I hope they will continue to do so.
Citizens continue to receive advice all the time, we have to move as little as possible and only for reasons of work or emergency, every two days or so a self-declaration to be filled out to show the police the reasons for our movements, with the addition of some new laws.
As far as I am concerned, I work more than before, also thanks to the absenteeism of some colleagues who have been absent from work for health reasons for more than a month.
Life in the psychiatric community is now more difficult, you have to be careful in trying to keep the guests calm because of the restrictions, they struggled a lot before they realized that this was a real emergency, some of them don't understand the situation at all and probably never will. On a re-educational level, limiting them to going out one by one is neither easy nor useful.
In order to further clarify what is my job, I will try to explain it to you in the simplest and most effective way possible. I make the O.S.S. acronym that stands for Social Sanitary Operator (Healthcare Operator in english), I am part of those who when you happen to go to the hospital take care of the patients take their vital parameters and bring them food, practically the "blue collars", together with the doctors with white or green uniform and the nurses with "green collars" are part of the medical team. In my case the work is very similar, only that the structure is private and only those who are commonly and vulgarly called "crazies" are treated.
These people are over 18 years old, but for more than a month I've been working with underage kids, imagine 4 kids with "complicated" families and heartbreaking lives, living in a house of about 80 square meters and having to share spaces, no longer being able to go to school and go out only for walks no more than 200 meters away from where they live.
The village where they are located is scattered in the middle of the Alps, the landscape and the climate are not bad at all, on the contrary, but for children who have not yet reached even 18 years old everything is tight and even before the opportunities to be exploited with regard to their interests were not many.
Luckily neither of the guests of the two structures, adults and young people (who are in the same building but divided) they've gotten sick and all in all they're not exaggerating their behavior so far, even if in an "apartment group" (a house where few guests live, which is the next step after the community before they can return to society) of our competence there have been two positives that are now well.
Some of my colleagues found themselves having to work in both facilities and after the positive responses of the swabs have and have experienced heavy moments of tension in the air, all with masks and distances kept as far as possible.
It is almost impossible to explain to the guests to keep their distances and often you can find yourself in embarrassing and potentially dangerous situations. More than 15 days have passed since the positives were discovered and some optimism seems to have returned, also thanks to the news of falling numbers in the country.
We've seen it bad and we've been lucky so far, much more than others who find themselves working with infected people and living in fear and suffering.
During the little time I spend at home I watch a lot of television, movies and TV series, which I've always loved to do in the company of my future wife, who is forced to stay at home because she works in a hotel, which has been one of the most penalized sectors. I also write articles for my blog and shoot some videos for my YouTuber project.
All the things I was doing before the quarantine, for years now I don't go to public places much, it will be because of the work I do that is highly stressful, as you can imagine, but rather than go to a bar I prefer to spend my days relaxing on the couch, take some walks in nature, participate in some interesting event or as soon as we can travel.
This year I was planning to do many things, among all that to get married after 15 years of living together, but this damn situation has led us to move the party to next year, is not easy and better not to put in difficulties family and friends who probably in this period will face difficult situations and unexpected expenses.
All postponed and all frozen, school, sport, instructions have stopped and are waiting to resume as soon as possible, even if, as it teaches what has happened lately in China, it will be necessary to have a lot of patience in the days/months to come and not risk to lower our guard.
They've mobilized experts, doctors and many figures, everyone has theorized something, the blame has been given to the bad eating habits of some, to laboratory experiments and they have come to shout at the conspiracy.
The truth is we'll probably never know for sure, but we've all been knee-deep.
Every hundred years, but even less, humanity has to face such difficulties, so many fevers and diseases and a lot of measures taken to fight them, unfortunately I seriously doubt that we will ever be ready for such events, at least not in the near future.
Society is evolving, technology is advancing, but apparently all this is not enough, as information on the one hand becomes fast and effective, with the same speed and effectiveness of fake news and misinformation propagates.
And now here we are, in this situation that looks so much like an apocalyptic movie, a movie genre I love a lot, but it's much better to see it from the outside than face it yourself.
For the first time in a long time mankind seems to be united in one purpose, that of defeating a common enemy before ending the usual wars that will unfortunately return when all is over.
As for my family, friends and acquaintances, none of them are affected by the Virus, I consider myself very lucky, indeed, although unfortunately my mother's sister has passed away these days due to a very nasty illness, Alzheimer's, which has led her to degradation in several years, and now unfortunately she won't even be able to have a proper funeral.
A special thought goes out to those poor innocent victims who have left their families without being able to feel even their affection before leaving them forever, if some of us had paid more attention, instead of going around without thinking much after being in the places of greatest risk, perhaps we would not find ourselves in this sad situation.
But it is useless to carry out a witch hunt, I was the first to underestimated the situation at the beginning, even if I was careful about some rules that I have always considered common sense and that have been part of my cultural background for a long time. In this respect I can only say that I am luckier than many others and I do not feel like condemning anyone for their mistakes, despite the fact that in some cases they have been very heavy.
Even in the worst situation there are positive aspects, environmental pollution will be partly reduced for the happiness of all living creatures, and animals, less and less afraid of our annoying noises, are much more relaxed.
We need to think about the common good and get the situation resolved as quickly as possible, we can't do much but we can do something really easy and important for the whole community: stay at home.
The photos and video you will see in this article are partly taken by me, those of Milan instead were taken and the video shot by a dear friend, Mourad Balti Touati, who lives and works there as a professional photographer and has been authorized to go to certain areas.