This week, Italy was paying tribute to those who have died from the COVID-19 coronavirus by flying flags at half-mast. So many people have been infected in the country including health-care workers. Lombardy, the region of northern Italy around Milan, is the area most affected so far by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Northern Italy went into emergency lockdown early last month, and the government expanded the quarantine to the entire nation 3 days later.
The high rate of fatalities was preventable if protection was provided doctors say. This is the same situation in Spain. Hospitals across the country and abroad are now using snorkeling masks transformed to use as ventilator masks.
A great idea that started in Italy
As hospitals face an overload of COVID-19 patients struggling to breathe, innovative medical staff are turning to snorkeling masks from sports stores to stop their lungs from collapsing, with hospitals in other nations taking note and adding their own specific medical parts to make it work.
The Milan Exhibition Center was forced to turn into a hospital with 200 intensive care beds. The Italian health care system is one of the best in world, but the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has also taken the lives of 61 doctors. For weeks now, Italian doctors have been urging other countries to stay at home. “Please stay inside, learn from us,” was the message.
With the economy coming to standstill, border crossings to Switzerland with daily numbers of 67,000 Italians crossing the border to work in Switzerland is no longer an issue. The borders to Switzerland are now closed – there is no work, just a curfew.
In Tuscany, the glamorous seaside resort Forte di Marmi is applying a fine of 500 € for shoppers entering a supermarket without a mask.
Alitalia, the national airline of Italy is flying with one-third of its entire fleet and at 10 percent occupancy.
The famous Luxuottica – eyeglasses – is reducing the salaries of its top managers.
In Bergamo, the epicenter of the virus, the generation who had survived World War II has virtually been wiped away by the virus.
Talking to Italians from north to south, everybody agreed that is the right measure being taken by the Italian Government and to stay inside is most important.
In a village near Bergamo where a baker has died from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Italy’s best Maitre of the year in 2016 told me that he is learning to make bread now. But there is no flour others say.
The world’s most glamorous Lake Como has become a ghost lake. There are no ferry boats, no cars, no bikes, and no people. All hotels, shops, and restaurants are closed. Birds singing has replaced the sound of Riva boats, seaplanes, and cars. There is not a soul to be seen. It is quite eerie and unreal.
But nature brings hope with blooming rhododendrons and azaleas resisting the tristesse Italy is facing. As in the season, hope springs eternal.
As of this writing there is not one country not infected, and the latest number of cases crossed the one million mark around the world.
In the main picture, the three colors of the Italian flag – green, white, and red – have been appearing on monuments all over Italy as well as abroad to support the country during its COVID-19 crisis. In Rome, 3 key monuments are lit up at night – the government’s offices at Palazzo Chigi, the Senate, and the Campidoglio – the center of Rome’s city government. They will stay lit until the end of the crisis.