Covid-19 My personal experience of every-day life in Milan, Italy, and summary of Italian News translated into English. Hope you enjoy and find it helpful and informative (I’ll try my best).

Milan, Italy, 13th of March, 2020.  

Positive cases n. 14.955; Deaths: n. 1.266; Recovered: n.1.439. 

I believe that although we’re only at the beginning of this pandemic we’ve already had some good news coming our ways. 

My mother’s eighty-two and lives across the hall from me so I understand how difficult this can be for the most vulnerable but it’s my belief that with the proper information and prevention we can ALL be safe.  

As I’m living in the epicentre of the western world epidemic and have the luck of speaking both English and Italian, I can easily translate the Italian News thus making it more accessible to English speaking people.  

I will also try to report on every-day life in Milan with the purpose to show that life goes on as usual albeit with a few adjustments due to the health situation 🙂  

My advice? Act as if Covid-19 were already a national emergency and act accordingly.  

Here in Milan, our hospitals, all over the country, are currently using “Tocilizumab” which has been proven to speed up recovery of patients on respirators/ventilators. Its typical use is for rheumatoid arthritis but at the Cotugno hospital of Naples, Italy, MD. Paolo Ascierto, president of the Melanoma Foundation and head of the Oncology, Immune therapy and Innovative therapies of the National Institute for Tumours, IRCCS Pascale, has said it’s proving very effective in treating Covid-19 pneumonia on a off-label basis, i.e., not for the illness it is usually prescribed for (Rheumatoid Arthritis), with great results. The pharmaceutical company Roche supplies it free of charge.  

Germany is distributing test kits all over Europe, once we have more access to tests things will improve exponentially. Meanwhile self-isolate, do not visit with family and friends, do not go to crowded places.  

The virus might prove to be air transmitted which would mean it would have the potential to travel EVERYWHERE so start protecting yourselves and your loved ones ahead of time.  

Right now, in Italy, we’re not allowed to leave our homes apart from going to work (by either car or public transport), going to the supermarkets and chemists or to take our pets out. City parks are also off-limits.  

The above mention activities we are still allowed to engage in, must only be undertaken if absolutely necessary, on our own, wearing ppf3 masks and nitrogen gloves and by carrying a self-declaration document that attests and justifies our movements. This is good because it’ll halt the spreading of the virus and allow both patients to recover and medical staff to deal with the emergency before becoming overwhelmed.  

There’s no food shortage as goods are allowed to move freely and supermarkets receive fresh products daily hence no need to panic.  

The only items which are proving difficult to find are disinfectants, especially alcohol-based ones, nitrogen gloves and ppf3 masks so now it’s a good time to stock up on them together with disposable tissues and paper towels.  

Also, items like fresh milk, fruit and vegetables are harder to find at the weekend when more people go to the supermarket hence, whenever possible, we try to shop during the week days. 

Those who are able to work from home (smart work), are encouraged to do so while those who have no other option but going into their usual places of work – think doctors, nurses, cashiers, etc., – will be sent home the minute there’s a single case of infection in the work environment in order to self-isolate (quarantine is not the correct wording as it means forty days), for a fortnight to make sure they don’t develop the symptoms and spread the virus further.  

Obviously, all of this has dire consequences on the economy but right now it seems the most sensible option and I hope all countries will soon implement the same measures; the sooner the better.  

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Alcohol and Countries

In Turkey, mostly a Muslim country, they have restrained the time when one’s allowed to buy alcohol, regardless of the fact that 90% of people living there claim to have never had a drink in their lives.

In Toronto, Canada, I went to an Indian restaurant. I got in and the waitress asked me if I was thinking of having a drink with my meal. Dumbfounded, I asked why she wanted to know. She explained that I couldn’t sit in the Veranda if I was going to order a beer with my meal in order to avoid young people ~ passing by ~ seeing me having a good time and thinking they’d do the same once they’d be grown up.

If I wanted to have a beer with my Indian meal, I would have to sit where I was not facing the street.

In fact, in the whole city of Toronto, one can’t buy any sort of alcohol in supermarkets. One would have to go to a place on the outskirts of Toronto, marked XXX, where winos hang around; and one would need a car to get there.

I did manage to find a place near-by selling wine. I bought a bottle of San Giovese for $CAD 10,00.
The same bottle of wine costs me €1 at the local supermarket in Milan, Italy. You do the arithmetic.

Back to Milan, I went to the local supermarket and overheard fourteen-year-old kids talking on their mobiles to their school mates trying to decide what kind of booze to get for the end-of-school party: ” Okay then, a bottle of Vodka; some beer;  some Cranberry juice; Martini; Prosecco; Negroni and some Pineapple juice should do it, yeah?”

Go figure…