Paul and Lucy Spadoni periodically live in Tuscany to explore Paul’s Italian roots, practice their Italian and enjoy “la dolce vita.” Paul is the author of "An American Family in Italy: Living La Dolce Vita without Permission," an Amazon bestseller.
All work is copyrighted and may not be reprinted without written permission from the author, who can be contacted at www.paulspadoni.com
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Update from Lucca: The numbers are down; the first hopeful sign in days
“There is a glimmer of
light in Italy. The coronavirus numbers went down today: 3,957 new cases and
651 dead.” This is how my Facebook friend from Lucca, Jonell Galloway,
started her post Sunday evening. The day before the numbers were 4,821 new cases and 793 dead. Following is the rest of her report:
An empty street in Lucca.
Maybe the virus has peaked.
Just as well. I was starting to see the world in black. It’s hard when the
numbers go up every day and you’ve been self-isolating in your house for weeks
on end. Strangely enough, this is becoming the new normal, although if we are
indeed past the peak, it means there is now light and some hope.
Last night, the
government closed all manufacturing except vital necessities. The food shops
and supermarkets are still well-stocked although one of my regulars, the bean,
spice and olive oil shop, Prospero, closed down abruptly with no forewarning. I
suspect one of the employees caught Covid-19 and they all had to go into
quarantine. The same could happen any day in the other food shops where
employees are overexposed to the public.
I’ve still not witnessed
any signs of hoarding, and the government promises that food and medical
supplies will not be broken, but what if the very people who work to feed us
fall ill? What if farmworkers and employees in food processing plants go into
Both our daughters and
their boyfriends in France and Spain are infected, as well as two cousins.
They’ve been in quarantine for a week and have very light symptoms, although
one has lost her sense of taste and smell a week into it. I have a friend who has
asthma and has had it for a month. She’s better, but far from over it. Despite
the confinement, our Ana manages to do 10,000 steps a day in the house. Leo
still works out at home every day. Their symptoms are not worrying yet they
must avoid contact with people less healthy than they.
In Italy, there has been
a sense that the lockdown is in everybody’s best interest, so most people are
following the rules. They are being responsible because they know it will only
get worse if they don’t cooperate. I say that, knowing that the military has
been brought to Milan and I think Rome to enforce the rules. My friend in Turin
says there are far too many people in the streets, and they will surely have to
clamp down. The government’s policy is that lockdown has to be complete to be
effective. That makes sense to me.
Sometimes I feel like a
prisoner in my own home, and I stand by the window and wave through the bars at
the odd passerby. The bars come with the 17th-century architecture of the house
which has nothing to do with the real prison across the street. The wait for a
sign of life can be long because the streets are empty, and often we can only
make facial gestures to each other because their arms are laden with groceries.
All our assumptions
about what tomorrow will bring have been turned upside down. Every day is the
same in that we wait for the new numbers, announced at 6 p.m. Sometimes we hear
that they are going to announce more stringent measures, so we wait for the new
decrees to be released to know what we should be doing to support this war on
coronavirus. It’s a little like spelunking. You attach the light to your head
and little by little you see where the cave takes you. There’s no map to show
you your way. You have to be patient and carry on, not knowing what will come
around the next corner.