In March 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus strain Covid-19 a pandemic. Italy has been hit so hard by it that the country has closed its borders, refusing to let anyone enter or leave. Recently, a user on Reddit asked those living in Italy to share their experiences of what life is like living during the pandemic. Their answers, as you are about to read, are as eye-opening and they are harrowing.
In The Heart Of It
One user living in the heart of the Lombardy region of Italy gave the first insight in the thread about what conditions have been like. They make it sounds like life has essentially come to a standstill.
"I live in the heart of the Lombardy region. All my family has it and my grand uncle died. People just stay home and that's it. There is not much to do and shops are closed.You can hear ambulances all day and night."
Daily Routines Are Hard To Break
Supplies are important in Italy right now as more and more people end up being forced to stay indoors. Some people even refuse to break their normal daily shopping habits.
"Some people go to the supermarket and get out of it with tons of food so that they don't need to go shopping again. Others, like my grandma, go everyday because "how else is she going to get fresh bread?" Luckily we have convinced her that she cannot go anymore and she said from tomorrow she won’t leave the house. Just this Sunday she HAD to go to church to confess. The town priest has been taken to the hospital today because he catched Coronavirus and he is in critical conditions."
Certificate Of Health
In some regions of Italy, the pandemic has become so serious that citizens aren't even able to travel without documents proving their healthy!
"...is 6pm, while working we got a document to show to police officers if we get stopped while going from a "comune" (something like U.S. municipalities) to another. In this document we declare who we are and why we aren't in our home. You can move by car/bike/whatever if you have to meet your family (older people who need care, children and so on) or go to work. Every other reason is forbidden. Right now you still can go around the comune where you live without almost any problem."
Traffic Is Non-Existent
With so many work and businesses offices closed in Italy, one Reddit user revealed how much less traffic there has been. Of course, this isn't necessarily a good thing as there is nowhere anyone really needs to drive to.
"Traffic is quite low, compared to last week for example, but people still do their things. A lot of non-fundamental services are closed but you can still go to a pharmacy, hospital, gas stations and big workplaces like industries."
This doctor in Rome took to the Reddit thread to reveal just how underreported the situation is being covered by the news.
"I am a doctor who works at one of the largest hospitals in Rome. The situation seems much worse than reported in the news. We are scared, but we continue to go to work for a sense of responsibility by turning. We do not have suitable safeguards for our protection, such as ffp3 masks."
The High School Experience
A high school student wrote about how schools have had to adjust to teaching students outside of the classroom. In the United States, many colleges are transitioning to this kind of learning, too.
"Highschool student here, school's are simply closed and the TV is full of ads about washing your hands and avoid contact with other people. Edit: I forgot to say that each morning we have approximately 3 hours of video lessons from our laptop."
The University Experience
Like high school, universities have shifted to online classes to keep the curriculum from being put on pause.
"I'm a university student, and since last week we have been doing lessons via Microsoft Teams or Google Classrooms. I don't really like these methods, but it's the only alternative, so... There's a fair amount of psychosis between a big chunk of the population; supermarkets have been raided overnight. We are advised to not leave our houses unless it's necessary, but you can fill a form on your own to certify that you need to go to work, so basically everyone is running around without a real examination of that form because literally anyone can do that."
Sort Of Like House Arrest
This mother seemed more worried about the well-being of her daughter, who has been told to stay home and not come to work.
"I have a daughter living in Saronno, but she works in Milano. She is house bound, on lock down. Her courses are being done via Skype. Her employer has asked her not to come to work. She is not allowed to leave her house unless it is an emergency (which I hope never happens)."
Finding The Good In The Bad
For as bad as things might seem, some Italians have tried to find a light in the dark.
"For a couch potato like me it's awesome. I can watch my uni lessons online and in my free time play a [word removed] ton of videogames or work out a little bit. Also I think we're allowed to leave and get some fresh air. So except for the deadly virus thing everything is ok."
Future Plans On Hold
Even though this person isn't going on vacation anytime soon, the pandemic has still halted their future plans.
"Currently my brother is in one of the high risk zone in the north. He works at the university as a researcher, today he went to work and the laboratory was empty. Starting from tomorrow the uni told him to stay at home and that the structure will be temporary closed. He was planning an exchange with a laboratory in Ireland for April but I think it's canceled."
From Chaos To Quiet
In some areas of Italy, the pandemic brought with it chaos followed by quiet. The area of Bologna has been especially affected according to this Reddit user.
"My cousin is in Bologna where the situation is surreal. According to him, no one is on the streets and the supermarket got assaulted multiple times from people concerning that they would have run out of food (which is not going to happen since supplies are guaranteed)."
Lack Of Space
One of the biggest problems in Italy has been the limited space in hospitals for those afflicted.
"The school is quite annoying but its ok, I wake up at 7:30 and at 8am I start a 5 hours straight in front of my laptop for online lessons and then I go cooking my lunch. I don't go out if not to buy some food and maybe some cigarettes because the situation its not good, there is no space left in the intensive therapy so if I get really sick, they would have to remove someone to save me since I would have better chance of surviving."
Not Everyone Is Suffering
This Reddit user quickly realized other users found their initial comment insensitive and had to backtrack.
"I've been locked in my house with my two sisters and my mother for 2 weeks and i still have a month ahead of me. pls send help. edit: to be clear i was joking, im perfectly fine, the situation is not that bad. we can go out to buy groceries or to work. the big problems are that some people are losing their jobs and how the economy will be affected (now and in the aftermath)."
The First Days Of The Lockdown
While some areas fell into chaos, other areas entered lockdown with much less dramatic results.
"Currently watching a university lesson from my bed but my father went to work this morning, I'm in a region where the lockdown started officially today so it's all pretty new, let's hope people don't storm the grocery stores. Edit: since a LOT of people are mentioning it there no news about shortage of toilet paper and, at least in MY area, no assault on grocery stores."
Waiting To Panic
This user decided not to panic right away and wait for crowds to die down before heading to the stores for supplies.
"Yesterday morning there were a lot of people strolling around not caring about what's happening. Yesterday night the Prime Minister declared all Italy red zone, and a lot of people rushed to 24/7 stores to buy food. I decided to stay at home for at least a week, but my parents and the parents of my friends are going around the city like it's not their problem."
For some, it's not about where they are, it's about how far away their parents are.
"I basically live in the epicenter of the outbreak of Coronavirus here in Italy. Things are difficult for me because I am far from my parents (like 1 hour drive), they are in their 70s and I am stuck because I don't wanna go home since I am scared I could possibly infect them...but at the same time I wanna help them with groceries and stuff."
A Nurse's Tale
This nurse has been stuck at home for a while and is starting to get cabin fever.
"I'm a nurse student in italy, right now i can't go to the university, i can't go to work, we shouldn't go out unless it's a necessity, so basically we need to stay home and finally finish our netflix list. It may sound pretty cool for the first few days, but after a while it gets pretty depressing and boring, i got so bored that i cleaned everything at home."
The timing of the lockdown in Italy couldn't have been worse for this person. While we're sure they understand the severity of the situation, it's hard to feel bad when the girl fo your dreams finally says yes. Hopefully, she still feels the same when everything is said and done.
"A girl finally said yes to me for a first date, a day before the lockdown. She lives in another region so..."
Two Weeks Shutdown?
According to this user, the lockdown on Italy should end after two weeks. Whether that is actually the case or not, only time will tell.
"We have an hashtag running on Twitter, #IoStoACasa it basically means IStayHome. People only travel alone and mantain a 1 meter safe distance. We have to change life habits drastically for two weeks to keep the virus from spreading. It worked in Wuhan, we hope it works here as well"
The Best Netflix Binge
Another user decided to share the lighter side of the lockdown. It may seem insensitive to some, but even during the darkest times it is important to be able to laugh. Let's just hope when this is over this user finds their way off of the couch.
"Basically, for the first time in history, I can save my life and potentially someone else's too by being a piece of [word removed] laying on the couch all day watching netflix and playing videogames."