I occupy much of my idle time during the pandemic learning Italian which includes weekly Zoom lesson with Giulia (la mia tutor). Last month Giulia returned to her home in Tuscany and we often discuss the pandemic situation in Italy (no translation necessary for Covid). How Italy has handled the outbreaks of Coronavirus is a stark contrast to our country.

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Italy’s first lockdown in the spring was a total shutdown of the country – closing all travel and business and citizens not allowed to leave home. After two months, daily cases were reduced from 6,000 to 300 and the lockdown was eased. Though travel restrictions remained on countries such as USA, commerce in Western Europe re-opened.

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Then, as predicted, the second wave occurred after summer and the government imposed new restrictions in mid October. Using 3-zone system (yellow, orange, red) 25% of country’s population was declared “zona rossa” (worst case). Only 2 weeks later more regions were declared “red zones” which put 50% of the population in the red zone. Now daily cases have been reduced from 40,000 in mid-November to 20,000 by November 30, and restrictions can be eased once again.  However, there are new rules to address a third wave expected during the Christmas holidays.

The ten week lockdown in March devastated the economy but less severe actions of the Italian government in second wave have been successful. So I was interested to see a day in the life of Italy’s red zone.

Nation Rules
. Curfew from 10pm to 5am
. Masks worn everywhere except in home
. Bars, cafes, restaurants CLOSE at 6pm except takeout
. Gyms, pools, museums, theatres CLOSED
. Churches and parks OPEN
. No receptions after weddings, funerals, baptisms
. Secondary school students remote, elementary/middle school students in-class
. Public transportation for work ONLY, 50% density

Red Zone Rules
. Bars, cafes, restaurants CLOSED except takeout
. Most shops CLOSED except hairdressers, supermarkets, pharmacies
. Factories and businesses OPEN
. Travel outside home requires self-authorization document for each trip
. No travel outside municipality except essential or health reason

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Today in America we are struggling to contain the second wave which begs the question WHY WE CAN’T DO BETTER? The vaccine is here, the finish line is in sight but the last push will be PAINFUL unless…

Roberto l’Uomo del Vino (Bob the WineGuy)