We’ve mostly been in a state of denial for two weeks, here in Milan. We thought this wasn’t critical, that we were going to get better soon, that we weren’t going to end up like Wuhan.
We stayed home in the beginning, but then, when we got tired of staying home, we went out.
This is what’s circulating online right now.
Meanwhile, the numbers of the ill kept climbing.
Now, on Sunday, March 8, we find we’re in a red zone. We’re quarantined. We can’t leave Lombardy. If we do, the penalty is 3 months in prison.
We can still shop for food, although authorities advise that only one member per family venture forth. This morning at Essenlunga supermarket, my husband went alone. He found people were let in, through the turnstiles, a few at a time. Those who waited their turns, stood in an orderly fashion, actually leaving space between themselves and the next person. This is unheard of in Italy. Here we usually line up like a knot of unruly school kids.
My husband found there was a shortage of fresh fruit and vegetables. Still no sign of masks, no gels. Pasta could be had, at a discount, along with jars of tomato sauce. There is always one brand or another of pasta on sale at Esselunga. That this was still the case this morning was comforting.
Although today is International Women’s Day the usual festive vibe is missing.
No one is selling sprigs of yellow mimosa at street corners. No one is making plans to go out tonight. Usually groups of women go out for a pizza and prosecco and toast each other.
There are messages though on Whatsapp:
I’m feeling a little chilly, sitting here at my desk. I’ve measured my temperature; it’s normal. I suppose you can’t help wanting to measure your temperature from time to time, to make sure you’re still healthy when you’re living in a red zone.