Some more coronavirus facts and feelings from Italy

 

just a small update, six weeks after the end of #ItalyLockdown

(the initial, much longer version of this post was drafted in the last week of June 2020, but not published, for several reasons. Two months later, I decided to put online an small excerpt, because it would still be a useful reference for future posts of my “Coronavirus in Italy” series)

Did I say beaches?

One month ago, I wrote about the narrowest region in Italy was trying to make its beaches safe. Now, just as I predicted, there has been dangerous crowding on Liguria beaches, and even the beaches of Rome are dangerously crowded:

Some more coronavirus facts and feelings from Italy /img/italian-lifeguard-vs-covid19.jpg
A lifeguard near Rome, emptying the Mediterranean Sea with a teaspoon... I mean enforcing social distancing on his beach.

Schools

Right now, there is much talk and indignation around schools, for two reasons. One is that it is intrinsically a huge theme, the major limiting factor for many working parents after lack of work, and restricted mobility. The other is that talking of schools helps to not think about how dire the general situation is, economically.

One of the main teacher unions just published five reasons why the current plans will not let school reopen in September. Not safely, that is: “if a second wave comes, it will be total closure, because in schools contacts are daily, long, and very close. Any discussion on how to implement Ministry Guidelines is pure academia”.

Experts have explained very well why schools are critical:

  • they don’t just move students, but all the (much older!) personnel around them, from principals to janitors and guards
  • the extra load, concentrated in very few moments of the day, on public transit
  • a report released last april noted that “school is the place where there is the greatest number of contacts among people”
  • data is contradictory, and insufficient

At the end of May, the Ministry of Instruction has published draft guidelines on how to go back to school that decree, among other things:

  • 1 meter distance between students (good luck with that)
  • mandatory masks for everybody older than 6 years
  • school entrance scattered over larger time intervals
  • maximum possible usage of available outdoor spaces
  • mimimum possible presence of parents inside school buildings
  • deep sanification of all premises before reopening

Meanwhile, a major concern of school trade unions and teachers associations is school drop-out caused by distance learning.

Save italian tourism!

For teathers, and many other “leisure” businesses, it is just impossible to “reopen in June with the new rules”. Compared to last year, only half of Italians will have some vacations this month

A professor just said that right now Italy is likely restarting the pandemic, in order to save turism. Basically, he said:

  • the key issue here is tourism, or more exactly the political demand to protect tourism, no matter what
  • The restart of most economic activities at the end of May may cause less troubles than the one of leisure activities this month. Workers returning to offices and factories in very controlled conditions spread and get less virus than their families going on vacation
  • let’s not fool ourself: tourism and the “leisure economy (sports, restaurants, dancing and betting halls…) is incompatible with truth about COVID19. But politicians decided to water down the truth, to make consumption restart, and prevent (what is left of) the economy from imploding
  • when the cold season will return, it will too late to stop another (worst) outbreak, if we will have left thousands of contagious people wander around

What can I add? Time will tell who’s right.

The crisis is not the Coronavirus’ fault? What a surprise

An italian financial magazine just explained why and how the REAL crisis will begin in September, and unfortunately it looks like 1929:

“The more time passes, the clearer it seems that the financial sector does not seem to have understood the long-term impact and implications of these events or what will happen to the real economy, even in the best, that is “virus free”, scenario.”

“The world economy met Covid 19 in the worst possible conditions, with high vulnerability to debt and speculative financial leverage, and the pandemic has had a catalytic effect on a whole series of problems that had been evident for some time. The speculative bubbles on credit and equity already present in the system were waiting for a fuse to explode and the financial crisis would come anyway, even if only for a simple recession.”

“The post lockdown, so-called phase 2 for the international economy has not even begun and the easiest part of managing the crisis (ie printing money) is already over”.

The financial crisis would come anyway? Hey, this is exactly what I said three months ago: “COVID19 conveniently takes the blame for “structural failure” that was due in 2020 anyway”.

Miscellanea:

Contact Tracing does not work much.. A woman in Bari found herself stuck at home for two weeks, waiting for the tampon that would find her negative, after the Immuni app said she had had a risky contact.

Moral fatigue, or lack of meaning? Rolling Stone describes the “exhausting moral fatigue” from doing even the most mundane activities under COVID19: but that fatigue is so exhausting because, as I wrote here we are forced to do so much useless, or not urgent stuff.

Latvia showed a clearer understanding of digital sovereignty, than Italy.

“The shocking outbreaks of #COVID19 in Europe’s meat processing plants shows again why the working conditions of seasonal & cross-border workers in the European Union must be addressed”

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