March 19, 2020. In Italy it’s been now ten days of nationwide restrictions – the first country in the world to do so. I want to summarise all that is wrong with the current situation, which gets more concerning every day.
60m people have been asked to stay at home for four weeks. No consideration for those who live alone, in abusive relationships, with meantal health issues, or without a computer and an internet connection (yes, there are many). Social and psychological costs not factored in.
Students and pupils of all ages have been at home, in the North of Italy, since February 23. Since March 9, millions of kids and teens can’t see their friends anymore. Online teaching is a utopia for most schools, for lack of basic internet infrastructure.
Workplaces and businesses don’t have to close down – it’s up to individual employers. Many people, from bank clerks to factory workers to delivery people, still have to go to work every day. There is more and more evidence that most contagion is happening on workplaces.
Yet, the dominant narrative is that the virus spreads because people go outside for a run or a bike ride. Walking and exercising has zero epidemiological risk, and is permitted under emergency laws, but has been immediately criminalised by news and social media.
The media amplify the (mostly fake) reports of “excessive crowding”. As a result, most public parks have been shut, meaning there’s even less public space to go to. Many people are proactively reporting joggers to the police.
The vagueness of emergency laws has left it up to administrators and police depts to decide what is permitted. In Bologna, cycling has now been forbidden; in Naples, you can no longer go for a stroll, not even alone.
Commentators and administrators are asking for even “more”, including for the ARMY to patrol the streets. Some ministers have issued open threats: “If you don’t obey the rules, we will make the restrictions even harsher.” Meanwhile, factories and workplaces remain open.
Information from govt and media is abysmal. No explanation on how the virus is transmitted. Many ppl think that the virus is in the air, and that the very act of going outside is a threat. Countless healthy ppl are scared to death, and haven’t been in outside in weeks.
The tally of cases is broadcast live every day on all media, as if it were a sporting competition. Numbers are presented with no context and no explanation. The vast majority of ppl doesn’t understand that today’s cases were infected 2 to 4 weeks ago, as no one explains it.
Andrea Bagnato, March 19, 2020.
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