Thursday, March 19, 2020
Update from a cousin in the coronavirus hotspot of Bergamo
Knowing that Bergamo is one of the hardest hit cities in Italy, I recently reached out to see how our cousin Matteo Seghieri, who moved from Ferrara to Bergamo a few years ago, has been bearing up during the current epidemic. Note: This is not the same Matteo Seghieri who lives on via Mattonaia in Montecarlo. This Matteo is the grandson of Giuseppe “Beppino” Seghieri of Montecarlo. Here is his report, sent in the early morning of March 19, with a little editing for clarity.
We are fine but Bergamo is bleeding, with more than 400 people dead from complications related to the coronavirus. The vast majority, more than 90%, were more than 75 years old and had other health problems. The hospitals are collapsing because of too many people in need of treatment. In the last few days, we are sending people to the Southern Italy (Sicily, Puglia, etc.) on military flights.
If someone of your family get seriously sick and needs treatment, sanitary measures do not allow you to follow them to the hospitals or visit them. And we are not holding funerals to avoid people gathering, so the terrible reality is that the day you see a friend or family member taken away for the hospital is the last moment you see them.
We stick super strictly to social distancing. My daughter and my wife have been closed in the apartment since February 22, when cases increased sharply and schools were closed down. We literally only got out to try my new company car, for 45 minutes. We walked in secondary streets for 10 minutes in the open air, after the first 10 days of lockdown in a sunny Saturday afternoon. That was the 7th of March. We do not go near anyone. We did not enter any bar or anything else.
We got our food home delivered from February 22 until March 9. Then home deliveries were halted. So now I am going once a week to a supermarket. We clean every package with some detergent before putting it on the shelves. We clean everything immediately behind our door. We leave our shoes at the door (we always did this even before; we walk barefooted in the house).
We are not scared for ourselves about the virus. If you are healthy (and luckily, we are) and you respect restrictions, there is really little to worry about. But you have to take care you do not give it to your relatives. It is mostly dangerous for older persons.
My parents as you know passed away years ago, but Zia Elsa and Monica (Elsa's daughter) live in Bergamo. Zia Elsa is 85 years old, and we are worried. She is under strict quarantine now, to avoid contagion, and Monica is taking extremely good care of her. My mother’s parents live in a city called Borgomanero, and for the time being it is less affected, a bit safer, and they also stick to the rules.
My suggestion is to follow higher restrictions than needed for you and your family, as soon as you can. This is what we have done. This keeps you safer, and at the same time it gives you the possibility to “test” new habits and adjust your life better. It is not a big sacrifice, especially for the average American house, considering you have big houses and rooms and there is quite adequate space for everybody! I am happy to know you have space enough to move around without going out. My regards. Stay safe and all the best. Matteo