LETTER: CORONAVIRUS UPDATE FROM ITALY

COVID-19 graphs for June 15, 2020. Photo: Andy Slavitt on Twitter

We’ve been fine for awhile now. Although some places in Lombardy are still suffering, there have been no new infections in our region of 1.5 million for two days in a row (day before that, it was two). Pierre and I went to a sushi restaurant last night. They took our temperatures and seated us far from any other customers. It was my first time inside a restaurant since early March. I cried because I felt guilty for being able to safely enjoy such a luxury while my friends and family can’t.

It’s still mandatory to wear a mask in public if you are near others (no mask is fine if you are alone on the street or in a park). All businesses and offices have newly-installed plexiglass. Every single store you walk into has medical-grade hand sanitizer and gloves at the door as well as markings on the floors to show you where you can and cannot stand. We are still prohibited from visiting loved ones in hospital. There are no concerts, festivals, or football matches. Aside from the hospital restriction, these are small prices to pay for a safe environment.

Individual behavior is not enough. You need policies, laws, services, and safety nets to combat this disease in any meaningful way. No human is an island; we all live in a social fabric. I know everyone in the US is tired right now. But to prevent an unconscionable number of deaths, people have to fight their officials for life-saving interventions. Remember these deaths drastically disproportionately effect Black, Latino, and indigenous people. Keep fighting.

Ciao for now.  💋

Eleanor Finley

Eleanor Finely is a cultural and ecological anthropologist currently pursuing a doctorate at UMass. She lives in Friuli Venezia-Giulia, Italy

Read Eleanor Finley’s letter from Italy from March, near the start of the pandemic, here.

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