The coronavirus situation seems to grow more serious with each passing day. The World Health Organization has finally declared the virus a pandemic. Meanwhile, Italy, the European country that the virus hit the hardest, had to take drastic measures to protect its citizens and to try and slow the spread of the illness.
However, how are Italians dealing with the coronavirus lockdown and what is the current situation like? That’s what one internet user wanted to know as they turned to the Ask Reddit community for answers. Italians explained just how much Covid-19 had turned their lives upside down: from school and work to everyday life.
We’ve collected the most moving responses from the Reddit thread, so read on to learn what living in Italy is really like from the people who are experiencing it firsthand. We don’t want to raise any unnecessary panic (we see enough of that worldwide already), but this may be what some of us might have to look forward to if our own countries are locked down in the future.
Bored Panda reached out to Doctors in Italy, a platform that helps people find English-speaking doctors in the country, about how the coronavirus has affected Italy, about the precautions that doctors there are taking, as well as what people can do to stay safe and healthy. "If you happen to have to go out for your work or for buying food, you see an eerie version of your city. Rome is ever more beautiful with the sun shining and the empty streets. The shops are all closed, and no one is around."
"You need to carry a certificate explaining why you need to be out (for work or health reasons). If you have no good reason or cannot demonstrate a real need, you can get a fine. Since very few people are around, it is very likely to be stopped by the police, so it's not a risk to take lightly. Everyone is doing their best to follow the decree. Being caught red-handed —wandering around without a good reason—can even result in jail time," a representative of Doctors in Italy told us. Scroll down for the rest of the interview.
Basically, for the first time in history, I can save my life and potentially someone else's too by being a piece of crap laying on the couch all day watching netflix and playing videogames.
Basic italian uni student with bad english here. Basically in the past we used to cough to cover up a fart, nowadays we fart to cover up a cough.
I live in Verona, I’m a 19 years old living alone because my mother and my father took it in milan and for the first time I’m home alone for a month. Pretty nice tho, I play gta5 with my friends like the old days, doing some indoor workout and experimenting with cooking (I’m becoming a good chef). 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. This is why I almost never go out (once a week). I don’t want to be the reason for someone death
"The central health authority has taken full charge of the care an assistance of all subjects who may have been exposed to coronavirus. While usually calling an ambulance is reserved to serious cases, at the moment all those who need medical assistance due to symptoms that could be related to coronavirus are advised to call the central emergency line at 112 or 118. Care at home can be arranged by the hospital, instead of a hospitalization, in case it is sufficient," Doctors in Italy explained the current situation.
"For long term residents in Italy, a good resource is also their NHS family doctor, who can provide assistance over the phone. In-person appointments are advised against, so doctors are now working a lot over the phone. Official guidelines have been provided to doctors in order to run an effective triage over the phone, minimizing the need to move around and reducing the risks of spreading the disease. All regular care is being postponed, so most private medical offices are either closed or working limited hours. Doctors who work at hospitals are doing double shifts regularly and have stopped all their out-of-hospital activities to reduce any risks."
I'm a final year medic and I'm graduating on Thursday over skype.
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.
My uncle is in the hospital with a high fever. His wife got it as well but she is home as her symptoms are milder. My cousin is taking care of her and miraculously she is fine.
However her grandpa died and she couldn’t even go to visit him. Her grandma is sick as well and she can’t see her either and she can’t see her dad. Hospitals are closed.
The available hospital beds in intensive care have run out and doctors are making tough choices for who to try to save which is terrifying considering most of my family is old and they might not get a bed.
Doctors are overworked and tired and since I know many people that work in the hospital, they are sharing with me these gruesome pics of people recovered in the intensive care unit. They are intubated and it just is a sad view.
Hospitals are so full of people on life support because of Coronavirus people are amassed on the corridors because they lack rooms:
My friend who gets people with the ambulance is working non stop to get people who are in critical conditions.
People keep saying it’s just a flu. Yes sure, but a flu without having had a vaccine can be quite dangerous. The youngest person I know that has it, he is in his forties and has had 40 degrees Celsius temperature for two weeks straight and counting.
Don’t catch it, it’s really not fun even if your immune system is strong, trust me on this, I have seen the repercussion on my family first hand.
No church is open or public event is held.
Since Italy is primarily populated by old people, we are used to see the streets being empty and everything being quite. Right now is just quieter.
They couldn’t even held the funeral for her grandpa.
My grandma woke up sick and I truly hope she has something else.
So many people in my city have it and yet they keep going around the city and spreading it. Incredible.
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.
I wonder how this death count will go up now that the hospitals are overfilled.
Rumor has it that my cousin’s grandma got it because she was in the hospital being treated because she broke her back but I can’t be sure about this so this is just our personal speculation based on no real evidence so don’t take my word for it.
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.
According to Doctors in Italy, it's vital that people living in the country follow the rules. "Almost every day, official sources such as the Ministry of Health and the Prime Minister release information and guidelines. They are doing their best to make all rules very clear and easy to follow, so everyone's job is to just follow them. They are meant to protect you and everyone else."
"Washing hands thoroughly with soap and not touching your face (eyes, mouth, nose especially) is very effective, as well as staying as far as possible from other people, except for those who live with you. All shops and pharmacies limit the number of people who can go in at the same time, so that you can safely buy food, medicine, and supplies without risk to you or others," the representative said.
"Remember that everything you touch that has been touched by others is potentially contagious, so keep not touching your face even at your own home. Wearing a mask can help in two ways: it reduces the risk that you spread the virus unknowingly—remember that not having symptoms doesn't mean you don't have it! —and it makes it impossible for you to touch your nose and mouth, so it's a win-win. Pets are not carriers, as repeatedly stated by all official sources, so keep your furry babies close and enjoy their company. The number of abandoned dogs and cats has sadly increased lately, so it's important to remember that health is not an excuse and spread the word."
Everything is in lockdown, you can't move without a valid reason. This wouldn't have happened, if it weren't for all those stupid people who kept traveling even though they were explicitly told not to. There are many infections caused by this. Literally, sick people ESCAPED from quarantine to go back to their native town. Also, the other day as soon as the first "red zones" (no traveling from/to those zones) were announced, the train stations of those zones were full of people running away. It's surreal how stupid people can be.
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
It's freaking outrageous, I'm crying right now while I'm typing these words. I'm 19, I study IT in University and both my mother and my father (divorced) have lost their job for at least the next month. It's already really hard normally, right now the situation is terrible. This morning I've spent hours looking for good web sites where to sell our paintings and everything that allow us to continue living. Even before this whole thing started I was looking for a job to get some money while studying so to help my family, but right now I can't even go to an interview because movements are allowed only for working (if you already have a job) and health issues. I live in the region where this whole thing started in Italy, yesterday night our government has extended our rules to all regions of Italy, so this means that the number of people living my situation has only increased. I never imagined I would ever lived this nightmare
Anonalligator’s thread on r/AskReddit got over 78.7k upvotes, several awards, as well as over 11k comments. This goes to show that this topic is on a lot of people’s minds and lots of us are worried about our friends in Italy.
Italians went into detail about the loved ones they lost, the way public life has stopped in some places, and how some people are panicking.
Meanwhile, people from other countries that the virus has spread to (including South Korea) explained what they’re dealing with and how it’s different from the situation in Italy.
All shops, except for food shops and pharmacies, will be closed in Italy. What’s more, the country will close non-essential company departments, restaurants, bars, and hairdressers. That’s adding to the list of schools, gyms, nightclubs, and museums that the government has already shut down. The coronavirus has drastically changed the fabric of Italian life. For now.
At the time of writing, Italy has over 12k confirmed cases of people infected with the virus. At least 827 people have already lost their lives due to the illness. These numbers will most likely rise, unfortunately.
I'm Italian but live abroad. 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. He's worried of course and a bit bored too but he understands that the situation is critical and that we have to give our contribution to avoid the spreading.
My cousin is in Bologna where the situation is surreal. According to him, no one is on the streets and the 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).
My parents live in a small city in the south where only four cases were registered in the entire region so far, so they are not much concerned, but they are taking precautions if the situation will get worse and they are trying to stay at home when possible. Luckily their jobs are not at risk because my mother works in public administration and my father can work on remote.
I live in Germany instead. Yesterday I went to a pharmacy and I could get a couple of face masks "just in case". The ladies there understood from my accent I wasn't German, so they asked me where I was coming from. As soon as I said I was Italian they "jumped away". I felt like I needed to specify I was living here and had no contact with Italy since December. That felt bad.
We should stay home but people are selfish and don’t care
Train conductor in Milan, Lumbardy.
Trains and public transports in general are still working, although there's talks of shutting them down soon. We'll see.
Some of my colleagues advocate a total stop, while most are just pushing our company to provide additional measures of security (i.e masks and gloves for every shift and weekly health Checks). In General there is a climate of worry, most people are scared for their lover ones, some for themselves.
On the plus side the city is remarkably beautiful these days. Silent and empty streets, clean air. A vague sense of tranquillità.
Since yesterday night, every town is locked down. I cannot move 5 km without a proper reason (work, or a relative very sick and so on) otherwise a could get arrested. The government, immediately backed up by lots of celebrities, is basically saying "please, stay home". Our emergency departments in the hospitals are collapsing. Literally, chemos or surgeries that are "not urgent" are being delayed (how's a chemo not urgent?). Bars and restaurants can only open from 6 am to 6 pm. It's been over a month that places where big number of people could meet have been closed (discos, sport centers, clubs, schools and universities). It's crazy.
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.
I am currently working from home and going out only once a week to do grocery shopping.
To move between different towns we need a document attesting that we are either going home, work or it's an emergency.
The hardest part is hearing the daily update of the number of deaths and sick people.. everyday we are told that hospitals cannot accept people anymore, all the hospitals here in the Lombardy region are saturated, nurses and doctors are falling sick too...if you need to go to an emergency room (even if it is not for the coronavirus) they cannot help you and this feeling is devastating.
Moreover there are no masks around, it's impossible to find them and hospitals are finishing them too.
Waking up every day to this is hard but I'm still hopeful that this thing will end soon.
LET ME TELL YOU HOW IT IS REALLY GOING We're in a friggin s**thole. Im currently quarantined in my appartment in Brescia, right in the middle of where it all started (close to milan). Yesterday our government declared redzone for the whole country, meaning no moving inside the country without a written permission, pretty much everything soon to be shutdown except primary necessities; the same night hordes of people rushed 24/7 markets, ignoring the most important rule. The thing is, the real virus in italy right now is goddamn IGNORANCE. People are not grasping the emergency, we basically don't have healthcare rightnow because of hospitals that are FULL already and people here think they're in a f**king vacation. Meanwhile i'm here scared to even see and meet my parents that live 30min car from me because of this virus. Companies are going down, we're taking a huge hit in any aspect and the same is happening around us in europe. Southern italy has yet to understand the situation, in fact they even were making joke of us northerns, until the other day when some of them rushed to the south scared of the lockdown,ofc bringing with them the virus. 2 days later the whole country went redzone. The thing is we're locked down but we have to enforce it with the army or many won't even care because they still think it's a fever, especially in the south, that will probably collapse because the south has a lot less infrastructures especially in the medical field. And many of them think that this will end in a month, not gonna happen unless we cooperate forreal tho
South Italy here: I'm waiting for the virus to spread as in northern Italy, if not worse.
A lot of idiots rushed south to their mommy after the Government declared the region of Lombardia red zone, and here the people seems to not understand the situation.
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.
There will be another infection peak here in the southern Italy in a few days.
I'm a student who lives in Emilia Romagna. Schools have been closed for three weeks, there is no one hanging out, everyone is cooped up in their houses. Ngl, this looks like a post apocalyptic scenario. People are starting to have relatives with the virus (my aunt, for example, has the virus), in every town there are a few infected. We can't move from a town to another, unless we have a specific permission (for example, we can if we have to go to work).
Every day we use Google meet to make online video-calls with our teachers and classmates, so we keep studying and doing our programs even if we are closed in our houses.
Many people are terrified, while many are chilling way too much, especially in the southern regions, because the virus has just started spreading there, while here in the Northern regions there are already thousands of infected.
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
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). She says there has been quite a bit of panic buying at the Supermarkets. All the restaurants are pretty much empty, however they are allowed to be open between 6am and 6pm (people who are seated should have at least a 1m distance between them at restaurants). Tourist areas (eg Duomo in Milano) are devoid of almost anybody. All school and University's remain close, all sporting or any kind of events have been suspended, ski resorts are closed, the same for cinemas, theaters, discos, all church services have been suspended. Whilst the measures may seem extreme, Italy has been the hardest hit worldwide besides for China, so it's necessary to curb travel and cultural activities to stop the spread of the virus.
I'm in the Florence airport right now trying to get back home to the US. I've been living here for 6.5 months studying abroad.. I was supposed to stay till June but my study abroad program got suspended and my student visa shortened.
It's insane right now. And that's a massive understatement. I couldn't make it to the airport in time cause Florence is in lockdown as of last night -- no one is allowed to leave home except to go to work. So you can imagine how difficult finding a taxi was. I missed my flight, and spent 4 hrs on the phone with United (f them) trying to get my flight rescheduled for the 3rd time.
Us study abroad students have been living at the edge of our seats. One email from the Italian govt suddenly changes everything. It has been a really stressful, chaotic, emotional couple weeks for both myself and my friends. Honestly, I just broke down in the airport because I was so frustrated, and I was definitely not the only one crying.
I'm from Milan. I'm stuck at home with two brothers and my dad who is working from home for like two weeks.
Most of the time I have to attend online lessons from my uni.
Yesterday a police car drove through the neighborhood with a megaphone warning citizens to stay home unless for emergency situation.
It felt like we were in some sort of stereotypical post- apocalyptic movie.
The most frightening thing is going to be the economy. Not only stock prices, but all the small businesses that survived and that support small communities: my parents own a big electrotechnical company, but their biggest clients are the government, airports and big corporations, that now don’t allow anyone inside. It’s looking pretty bad and the worst is yet to come according to academic studies
I am self employed.
I am working as normal, but I advised my clients not to come by unless it's truly urgent. I'm asking my secretary to take a paid leave until the end of the month because I don't really need her around since many colleagues are not working much right now.
All bars are closed. restaurants too I guess but I wouldn't know because I have a newborn and my life has been just work-home for the past two months anyways.
We avoid shaking hand and coming too close to other people. Wash our hands religiously and change clothes as soon as I get home. I avoid taking the elevator as much as possible.
All in all, life is going on mostly as it was before but there's very few people around.
I am mostly worried about my father since he's close to 80 and he insists on working. I hope this goes away soon.
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
Had to go to work this morning in a desert city, felt post apocalyptic in every means (empty stations, recorded warnings about the situation, etc) and despite wanting to rush thing at work to go back home I can't really get the right amount of concentration.
Live in Italy. It's the same as usual. The real kick in the teeth is not producing anything economically for the next month and watching people starve since they can't open their business. The virus is bad, but I think the long term economic side effects will be far worse. But it is what it is.
I’m returning back to my place after I kept my girlfriend company. Thing is, her parents work and I’m scared that somehow I got it and it’s just waiting to show symptoms. The paranoia will only increase in the next few weeks. I hope when things are over we’ll invest more in public health and be more conscious about safety standards.
It's pretty bad actually. I'm sophomore and I feel like it will be really hard to catch up, because we will have barely a month of actual school left. Moreover, the lockdown is causing severe economical issues, expecially to those who own small businesses such as restaurants, clothing stores ect. A lot of these activities will go bankrupt, because they have close to no customers. However, I think the only thing we can do is contain the infection, so the lockdown is necessary.
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. The only thing that has been really impacted by this is nightlife and sports since every league of every sport is suspended until April
People are God damn stupid here, one of my friend asked me to hang out because he was bored of staying home. Half of the people does not even care about the virus and the restrictions, the other half is totally confused because the govern is handling things in a bad way. Disinfectant is out of stock because people can't even read that it doesn't work against the virus, also any chinese is looked in a weird "oh i want you to know i'm not racist" way.
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