Category Archives: Corona virus

Corona virus 24

884 positives in Umbria. Up 10%. 21 deceased.
86,498 positives in Italy. Up 7.3%. 9,134 deceased.
Now over 100,000 positive cases in the US.
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Really good article in the March edition of the Atlantic. “How the Pandemic Will End”

Quote from the article that I thought summed up the American attitude that will lead it down a dangerous path:

“Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.”

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On a lighter note:
Dinner last night was….pizza!! I had a feeling calling early would be a good idea. I’m guessing there are not a lot of people to bring the pies. We called in our order at 6:10. We were told to expect it about 8:30. It was good pizza. Not the absolute best but very good. Nice chewy crust with a good char. Good toppings.  I always go vegetarian with pizza. They had a good many choices for me.

Yesterday I started walking up and down our stairs. It is a good workout. My knee didn’t complain too much. Luther did 15 times. I only did 5. I want to start slow. I don’t want to hurt myself. Our neighbors are doing their 86 stairs 10 or 15 times. Free stairmasters!
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Saturday
It is a beautiful day. Temperatures have come back up some. I am just back from my turn to go grocery shopping. I had my mask, and good thing because EVERYONE was wearing one. I would’ve felt naked. And they give out plastic gloves. There was no line!! I walked right in. Only concerning thing is that people weren’t being very good about the 6 feet distance thing. Hardest thing was to get the plastic bags for the vegetables open while wearing plastic gloves! I got my groceries. Stripped off the gloves, my hands were soaked with sweat. And took off the mask…so hot!

When I got home, I washed all the items I had bought. And washed my keys, phone, wallet, credit card and then my hands. OK call me overdoing it…but I feel better that I can touch all the things I bought without worry.

Here is another poor locked down inmate of Umbertide. I took the whole building first so you could see how tall it is. And then a close up.


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Sometimes it is good to go back to good memories. For me, my blog is a journal of sorts. In it I save all my adventures good and bad. Among them are a LOT of trip reports. So today I went back and re-read some of them. I re-lived them. For a time, I was released from this house. Able to be other places…someday we will travel again…

Speaking of this, we have some trips planned. One in Early June I’m pretty sure will need to be canceled. One in July/August to Germany. This one most likely will need to be cancelled. But I’m willing to wait to see how it goes between now and then.

We also had planned to welcome some visitors. Luthers brother, Mike and his family were planning to come. I was very excited. I’m guessing it will have to be postponed. Other old friends, Vicki and Tommy were coming in May. Of course that trip is postponed too. Very sad as I look forward to visitors. But it will get better. And I’ll see them all soon.
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As always folks, stay home, stay safe. We’ll get through this! Andrà tutto bene!

Corona virus 23

802 positives in Umbria. Up 12.5%. 20 deaths.
80,539 positives in Italy. Up 8%.
Slight uptick. The top of the curve will be a little up-down I guess.
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Sadly the latest figures from the US show the virus has grown and the cases have surpassed Italy and China. It’s now the world leader. As I’ve mentioned before, it will grow very fast from here. There’s no stopping it. But it can be slowed if people stay apart, and stay home. The point is to decrease the cases so the hospitals have the capacity to treat the sick.

I believe some people think the US will win against the Virus. It will not win. No matter what the people in charge try to do. But it can and will get worse if they open up too soon and encourage people to get out. And get together. Very, VERY big mistake.
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Notes from self isolation
Last night was another very yummy meal courtesy of Calagrana.
Fish pie! Chock full of seafood. Shrimp, white fish, salmon and mussels that I could see. Topped with mashed potatoes. Mmmmm.

We placed another order (Calagrana) for pickup on Sunday coming up. This time we chose the Spicy Baby Chicken and the Lamb shanks. Each a meal for two.

Luther came to me this morning and announced that he had stupendous news. A pizzeria is now delivering pizza in Umbertide!! He’s very excited. He loves pizza. Maybe we will try it tonight.😋

Today was our weekly Italian lesson. We each get an hour one-on-one with our teacher via Skype. Used to be in person before.

I finished getting all my US income tax stuff together yesterday and sent that in. Always a relief.

As I said, oatmeal cookies were in my future and today I will make them. Pictures tomorrow.
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I worry for my friends and family in the US. Please stay in and safe. We can come out the other side of this thing if we stand strong together, but apart…Faremo insieme! 💕

Corona virus 22

710 cases in Umbria. 9.5% increase.

74,386 cases Italy wide. A 7.5% increase.

Now we’re cooking with gas!! We’ve reached the top of the bell curve. It’s what we’ve been waiting for. Single digits! But unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case in Lombardia and north. Still growing there. No one understands why.
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Trash
In Umbertide, there are places around the Centro with rows of trash receptacales. One for carta (paper), vetro and plastica (glass and plastic), indifferente (trash that doesn’t care) and biodegradable. The closest one to us is maybe 250 meters away, on the edge of the Centro.

As the days have passed, I couldn’t help but notice the ENORMOUS pile of trash that has been building up in our hallway. In our normal routine, Luther would be carrying a bag out whenever he goes for a run. And we carry some out whenever we go to the store. Now, however, neither of these activities are happening. So…it looks like dedicated trips to the trash cans must be made. I assume the police will let us do that as long as we are carrying a stinking bad of garbage. It even occurred to Luther that he could put the bags in the back seat of the car and if stopped, claim he’s going to the dump. Ah, the fantasies we indulge in…

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From the New York Times —
“Based on epidemiological projections, as the virus ran unchecked, it would quickly expand to infect somewhat over half the population before herd immunity would slow its course. Assuming a death rate of about 1 percent of those infected, about 1.7 million Americans would die within a year.“

I will add that the 1% death rate is not in line with the facts so far. Here it averages 3.4%. So the death rate would increase by over three times if it holds true.
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Someday this will be past for the human race. And those who survive will go back to their lives. My sister shared this poem with me. It sums up so many of my feelings.

When This is Over -Laura Kelly Fanucci

When this is over,
may we never again
take for granted
A handshake with a stranger
Full shelves at the store
Conversations with neighbors
A crowded theater
Friday night out
The taste of communion
A routine checkup
The school rush each morning
Coffee with a friend
The stadium roaring
Each deep breath
A boring Tuesday
Life itself.
When this ends
may we find
that we have become
more like the people
we wanted to be
we were called to be
we hoped to be
and may we stay
that way — better
for each other
because of the worst.
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Stay safe and at home my friends. Faremo insieme…

Corona virus 21

648 positive cases in Umbria. Up 12%. 19 deaths. 7 cases total in Umbertide so far.

69,176 positives in Italy. Up 8%. Holding steady. 6,820 deaths.
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A day in lockdown…after two weeks
We are doing fine here. Not a lot to do in a 1,300 square foot apartment. And it’s gotten cold. Snow here today. It was pretty but didn’t stick much down in the valley. Up in the hills there is more.

Yesterday, for the first time in 25 years, we cleaned our own house. OK. I’ve always worked and my time was important, so we paid someone to clean. We came to Italy and we were retired. The habit was hard to break…so we hired Vera. She is now our good friend and we are part of her famiglia. And she ours. We miss her for herself…and for helping us by cleaning. But it’s OK. We are divying up the duties and it’s not like we have anywhere to go!

We have other things to keep us busy. Trying to exercise is challenging. Our friend nearby told me he walked up and down their 86 steps 7 times without stopping! I’m winded just thinking of it! I read the newspapers everyday (4 of them). I have two books going at any given time. I’m a moderator on a FaceBook group (over 8,000 members) which is pretty time consuming. Gotta keep an eye on the posters. They get unruly. I spend pretty much time keeping in touch with my friends all over via, FaceTime, email or Facebook. I write my blog. Laundry needs doing but since we’ve stopped bathing it’s not so often..🤣

I do a lot of cooking. Since it is cold out I built a fire in the kitchen fireplace and cooked a steak and potatoes for dinner last night. It was good. I make big pots of soup for our lunches. I’ve resisted making sweets so far… but my resistance is beginning to crumble…I see oatmeal raisin cookies in my future! I read somewhere the average person will gain 7-9 kilos during isolation.

In the evening I watch an hour of CNN usually. And then we eat dinner and watch a movie or series. Right now it’s the movie, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”. Liking it so far.

So that is our exciting day…

Sunday I’m going to try out Zoom for a virtual book group get together! I’m really looking forward to that (we will be spread from Los Angeles to Italy). I’ve read a lot of people are doing virtual happy hours this way. Bring your Prosecco and some nibbles to your computer. It is amazing what a situation does to human innovation! Zoom stock must be soaring…
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To all my friends stateside, I keep hearing bad things and I hope you will heed our situation here. We are slowing, but it will take time. If the US goes back to work and normalcy you will be allowing the virus to do its worst, and ALL at once. Many thousands will die. There will be no checks on the disease. It will be a runaway horse. There won’t be enough ventilators or beds, or nurses, or doctors, and horrible decisions will have to be made about who lives and who dies.😢

Please care for yourselves…stay home and safe.💕

Corona virus 20

577 positive cases in Umbria. 10% rise.

63,927 in Italy. An 8% rise. This is extremely heartening! The relief I feel is a surprise to me. A light at the end of the tunnel. Wow. I hope it continues. If we all stay strong…and stay HOME it will…
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It is hard to believe I’ve been writing everyday for 20 days!

From The NY Times —
…health experts say it will require extraordinary coordination and money from leaders as well as near-total cooperation from the public.

…If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt.”

West Virginia… “All this scare is hyped by the media,”

Listen…IT IS NOT. Please people. Look at the deaths in Italy…it will arrive…even in West Virginia.

Can you do it? Can the US population stop this virus?

For me, I find the very idea that this is a partisan event crazy, pazzo! And I keep hearing that. PEOPLE it is NOT partisan. This is a GLOBAL pandemic. It has absolutely nothing to do with politics. You, and your children, your parents, and your grandparents are at great risk if you don’t acquire a brain. Please.
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Dinner tonight courtesy of Calagrana. Gnocchi with farro, cheese and truffles. Mmmmmmm

Photo courtesy of friends who are sheltering in place up in the mountains…thanks Jill!

Faremo insieme!
Stay safe everyone.

Corona virus 19

521 total positive cases in Umbria, 14% rise. 16 deaths.

59,148 total cases in Italy. Rise of 10%.
I feel it is slowing somewhat, the percentages a bit less. They say by Wednesday this week we will see the slowing…Spero di si. 🤞
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Italian news bits —

10% of the total cases here in Italy are health care workers. This nurse has worn a mask so much it has damaged her skin. They are our heros.

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Amazon has announced that they have suspended delivery of non-essential items to Italy and France. I received an email this morning from them. I had ordered something non essential a couple of weeks ago…before all this got going…and it will be delayed indefinitely. Darn. Now I can’t even shop on-line to keep my spirits up. Sad… but I’m fine with it. Whatever helps!
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And from abroad…

Somehow people can’t seem to get it through their heads this is a real thing!

London Times —
“After huge numbers flocked to parks, markets and beaches in the UK over the weekend, Downing Street warned the government will impose curfews and travel bans if social distancing guidelines are not followed.“

Washington Post —

I’m thinking this could be a Darwin event…
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In our lives we still have some pleasures. Last night we had a wonderful dinner of fish cakes and mixed vegetables. Courtesy of our friends at Calagrana, Ely, Albi, and Ollipops. I am looking forward to the day we can all meet up on their beautiful terrace after all this is finally over…

It occurs to me that our world will emerge from this pandemic someday, but I think it will emerge a very different place. Our economies are being severely tested. Our moral fabric is being tested. And no one knows how it will all turn out. I fervently hope some good will come from this. That we will come out a better race of human beings. Speriamo di si.

Faremo insieme – we stand together.
Stay home and safe all my friends!

Corona virus 17

395 positive cases in Umbria — up 18%. 7 deaths. Up from 2 yesterday.

47,021 positive cases in Italy — up 15% from yesterday.

The positive cases in the US are already 15,219. Deaths 201. This is up precipitously since just last week.
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Interestingly the virus now is seeming to sicken and kill younger people. No longer only the elderly. This should be a wake up call to all the young people who have been flaunting the new protocols suggested by our government in the US.

I’ve heard people posit that things will be better in the US, than in say, Italy. There is no reason to suggest that is correct. I’m not wishing it to be bad there but I do think the facts point to the virus being an equal opportunity disease. Matters not what race, age, gender or nationality. It will kill indiscriminately.

I have been watching the afternoon news briefings with our administration officials. Unfortunately there are mixed messages coming out which is not helpful. Some say the old medicine that used to be used to treat malaria will cure the corona virus. So far it shows limited evidence of healing the sick. Dr. Fauci, the head doctor on the Presidential team says there is no reason to believe it will be helpful. And it cannot be used unless tested and approved. It is dangerous to raise hopes unrealistically.
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It is Saturday. And we still can’t go anywhere. So, what shall we do? Earlier today I caught up on the crossword puzzles I’ve not gotten to the last four days. And, of course, reading the news.

The day is beautiful and I went for a walk. My knee was needing some exercise. I made sure I was out of town in 2 minutes. Doesn’t take long. And then I walked up the river. I saw one other person, a woman who was dressed for the dead of winter. Heavy, long black wool overcoat, scarf tightly wrapped around her neck and face and a warm wool hat. This is normal, she was just being an Italian. They dress like this until June 1. Anyway, it was nice to get out and I took some pictures. The first is my favorite.

Views up and down the path…all alone…as the rules say.

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The rest of the day stretches out ahead of us. I have a good book I’m reading, The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. It is very thick. I think I’m on page 600 something and not nearly done yet. I may go out on the terrace for a while and clean off the mold that accumulates in winter. There is supposed to be a cold front coming thru so no working outside next week. I see a fire and a nice steak in our future.
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Stay safe everyone, stay home if you at all can.
andrà tutto bene!

Corona virus 16

334 positive cases in Umbria. 35% jump. In Italy the numbers passed China. The overall number in Italy jumped 11%. It is very depressing to see no slowing.

15 doctors have died from the virus. A person dies every 15 minutes in the Milan hospitals.
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I was just reading in Corriere della Sera, one of the main Italian newspapers, about changes in the rules they are discussing.

One, they are thinking of closing the grocery stores on Sundays. And possibly on Saturday afternoons.

And two, always of interest in our house, the passeggiata, or walk outside. People have been using it as an excuse to meet friends, which is against the rule to do the exercise alone. They say they are still not going to make a solo walk with no possibility of meeting up with anyone illegal. But they may do so at a future date. So we can still walk alone outside. Here is the article in case anyone wants to read it.
Corriere article
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Today was our Italian lesson. This time using Skype. My first time. My impressions were positive.
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I sent Luther to do grocery shopping. We had decided to take turns. He came back with masks, and a newspaper. 😑 No food. So, now, for some reason, he thinks it’s my turn to go out. Even though he didn’t bring any food back. Hmmmm.

He went back out…and did some serious hunting and gathering. Fresh vegetables, salad greens, and meats of all kinds. We should be good for a while now.
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I was a beautiful day. It reached 70F today. I spent some time on the terrace getting some vitamin D. This picture is in the other direction…away from the river. Houses along the city walls. An active view. A lot going on.

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Stay safe everyone. Stay home. 🏠

Corona virus 14

197 positive cases in Umbria yesterday. Still growing by 20% a day, or thereabouts.

2 new cases here in Umbertide. We got notice they will be disinfecting all surfaces around town. And to keep our windows closed.
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Public Service Announcement: Good source of info sent to me by a friend who works at Johns Hopkins University. coronavirus.jhu.edu
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I feel I’ve strayed from relating my own story here, so I’m going back to that primarily. Luther and I were just saying, as we arose to another day in our house…it is just like being under house arrest but we don’t have the ankle bracelets. 😂

I think today’s post will be stream of consciousness….
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There has been a very heated debate (mostly on Facebook expat groups) about whether people are allowed to go out of their houses to walk or run for exercise. Tonight on RAI One, one of the main TV stations here, they said that people are allowed to exercise, inside or outside, as long as they do it by themselves. I’ve been worrying about my inability to exercise my recently replaced knee. I don’t feel it is good to sit around the house all day, every day without exercising it. If this thing was short lived that would be OK. But we are hearing rumors it could go through the whole summer.
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Here’s another thought. We are in an agricultural area. I’m happy to report that the farmers are working their fields and planting. These are large scale (one crop in the field) farms. This reminded me of our lost Saturday Local Produce market. Where the people who come have farms around here to sell to us, the customers. And there is bound to be food in their fields which they would be selling to us in normal times. So what are they doing with this produce? The chain has broken. How can we facilitate the movement of the local food from the farms to the consumers here (who want it) with no venue? We need to come up with a new plan to help the farmers, so they will plant new crops at the proper time dictated by the season. We want them to keep planting. We don’t want them to go out of business. We need the chain to be unbroken. It is to everyone’s advantage to keep this going. I think I will post this on our local Umbria Facebook page…maybe we can come up with some ideas.
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Hmmmm. I was looking in the mirror today. Not a good idea, in the best of times. And I realized I’m overdue for a haircut. It occurred to me, since all the hairdressers are closed indefinitely, that we are going to be – ONE shaggy nation! OMG we will look like cavemen when we emerge from our casa caves. Whenever that may be…
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I’m still following the news from the US. Most of it is heartening. People are taking this all more seriously I think, finally. Except for one report from Florida…they’ve closed all the bars and clubs. Yay! But they let the restaurants stay open half capacity….Noooooooooo. 😱 If you are trying to limit transmission of this thing then go the whole way. Half full still transmits the contagion. Bad idea. I’m sure they are hoping to keep the restaurants solvent. I totally understand that. But I’m afraid our way of life will not be the same for a long time. Our businesses and economy will take huge hits. Inevitable. But more important are the millions…and I mean millions, who will die. We all need to act now.

An finally, and I’ll shut my trap after this, but a quote from our leaders. (What are they thinking?! 🤦🏻‍♀️)
“ Over the weekend, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a leading ally of President Trump, dismissed concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and said on Fox News that “it’s a great time to just go out, go to a local restaurant.”

Oh my god.
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Gosh, this is not a good note on which to end. So let’s talk about lunch. I made a big soup today. It will last days. It has tomatoes, carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, cabbage, one jalapeño, mixed grains and a little pasta. Very healthy, very hearty and filling. I serve it with a drizzle of good olive oil. 🙂 Picture!

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All y’all stay safe. Wash your hands! And Anderà tutti bene!

Corona virus 13

164 positive cases in Umbria. It continues to grow, here and in all of Italy. The new cases and deaths continue to set daily records. We have not yet turned the corner. But we are hoping we will soon.
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Another day has passed. And a beautiful spring day it is. I couldn’t ask for a prettier place to be stuck!

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I keep in touch daily, mostly through email and Facebook, and it makes me feel more connected. It is a real help to me. I also read multiple news sources every day. In my conversations I’ve noticed a very big difference in the way people are handling this enforced lockdown. A lot of it depends on ones personality. If a person feels the need for personal contact, they are having a hard time! If a person feels they need to always be busy with a project, it makes it more of a challenge. If a person is happy in his/her skin and with being solitary, it is easier. If a person can entertain themselves with reading, cooking, chatting with friends, it is not such a trial. I understand these differences and realize this whole thing will be different for each of us. But we hang together, and we hang in. The Italian saying is andrà tutti bene — it will all be better. You will see this everywhere here. Most of these signs are made by children. They don’t understand what is going on, so keeping their spirits up is key.
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People are still not taking this seriously enough.

Today I read a post by David Lebovitz. He writes a food blog from Paris. He said…” We are on day #1 of a fifteen-day confinement. Bars, cafés and restaurants were closed Saturday at midnight (which were packed in my neighborhood, as usual, with twenty- and thirty-somethings), and people were told to keep a distance between them and avoid public places. But the revelry continued on the streets around here through the wee hours of Sunday morning. Later in the morning, people waited in line, shoulder-to-shoulder, shopping at the Bastille market, and Sunday afternoon, people filled parks in Paris, or sat by the canal to have a beer with friends. To be honest, it was disheartening, and a little frightening, to watch the news and hear people being interviewed, talking about how they didn’t care, that they were going to do whatever they wanted. So here we are, with talk of the military coming in to make sure people stay indoors.”

And I said yesterday that Americans were not taking the virus threat seriously. To my point… I saw a poll today by NPR which said: “…only 56% of Americans consider the coronavirus a “real threat,” representing a drop of 10 percentage points from last month. At the same time, a growing number of Americans think the coronavirus is being “blown out of proportion.” This means 44% DO NOT consider it a threat.

This is dangerous thinking people. You put others at risk, not just yourself.
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I’ve been following the news from around the world from multiple sources. Finally countries are taking necessary steps.

France banned travel outside the home except for essential travel.

The Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, and Spain have closed their borders to all foreigners.

Air travel is all but shut down. Countries are concentrating on helping to get their citizens back home.

The US and the UK both have changed their policies as of yesterday. The messages from the leaders are unambiguous at last. But the messages were quite different. One difference, Boris Johnson told the British people to prepare for it to last a year. Trump said for two weeks, but it could last into summer.

I’m sorry to hear the UK is still encouraging the schools to remain open.

Both the UK and many parts of the US are discouraging gatherings of 10 or more people. This is still too many people gathering together. At least according to my daily existence. I wonder how they come up with that number? Like 10 or less won’t transmit the virus? I don’t think so…

I noted the UK is “encouraging” people to stay home and they expect that most people “would accept that we are a mature and grown-up and liberal democracy where people understand very clearly the advice that is given to them”. But they said if necessary the powers to enforce the restrictions would be used.
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I mentioned a few days ago that life has changed in so many ways here. One was no gatherings, to include Mass, Weddings, Funerals. The very sad consequence of this is that, with so many deaths right now, the grief is compounded by the fact that people are being buried alone, with no loved ones attending the funeral which is attended by a Priest and the funeral home employee. Families are devastated.
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On a brighter note…The Italian papers are talking about the environmental changes happening here. The air pollution is practically nonexistent in the industrial North. And they said this morning, the canals in Venice are clearer that anyone can remember.
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My sister said to me the other day…
“Crisis is the best impetus for change. Maybe the world will emerge from this a better place. We can hope so.”
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Andrà tutti bene…