The ‘need for information’ is the first in a short series of blogs looking at our lessons from lockdown here in Italy. These are lessons based on our own personal situation.
When Did The Italian Lockdown Start?
First some background. On 9 March 2020, the Italian government announced a lockdown which lasted two months, one week and two days. Rules were strictly enforced and apart from the once a week outing that only one of us was allowed to do for grocery shopping, we hardly saw a soul.
We are lucky to live in a house in the country surrounded by olive groves. I can’t begin to imagine how a family with small children in an apartment managed. People are struggling to pay rent and businesses are failing. As pensioners who work part-time to supplement our income, we had it easier than most. Having said that, our part-time income has clearly gone down like everyone else.
Some things that matter to us, like visiting our oldies in the UK, are still not possible. But there were lots of positive lessons for us I want to share with you. Because it is too easy to focus on the negatives as there are so many of them.
The Need For Information
During the first few weeks of lockdown I experienced a roller coaster of emotions. Certainly I was concerned about catching the virus as I am in the high risk category owing to auto-immune disease. Barnet Boy is also high risk.
I was horrified at what was happening in Italy and the wider world and the dreadful situations people were finding themselves in. Like everyone else, we struggled to find masks and disposable gloves and to get to grips with the required social distancing.
One of the overwhelming issues at the beginning was the need for information. It didn’t help that Italy was the first European country to really get hit by the virus. So everyone was learning as we went along. It was so important to find a trustworthy information source. As we don’t have television or radio (our choice and a blessing) we looked to online sources.
Make Sure The Information Comes From A Trustworthy Source
A trustworthy source does not mean an opinion read on Facebook or a rumor that is going around. Thank goodness for the fact checking sight Snopes! It is a pity more people don’t use it before sharing ‘facts’.
Italian Information Sources
Italy has a tendency to get bogged down in bureaucracy. I know that a lot of individuals and businesses have struggled during lockdown as promised payments or loans have been slow to arrive.
However, focusing on Italian information sources in relation to Covid-19, we have been impressed. We found the official Italian government announcements on numbers and spread were very helpful. Our local Comune (local authority) and the surrounding Comunes issued information and advice (via Facebook) every day and that was often useful to know. There was a good balance of local and national information flow.
A lot of guidance has been available on how to order from local shops and when post offices will be open, for example. There were daily, reassuring updates on numbers of infections, how to get masks and other supplies for the community where needed. We have always felt it was clear what we were required to do and what was not permitted. We knew exactly what we had to do if one of us got sick and had the telephone numbers that we needed to call.
International Information Sources
We are Brits living in Italy with our families in the UK. Keeping track of what was happening in the UK was important to us. And we have friends all over the world so we were keen to know what was happening in their countries.
Overall, we felt the need to get a broader perspective on what was happening in the world. One that was non-political, informative and pulled together by someone who actually knew what they are talking about. As a former researcher I am interested in the facts and statistical evidence not the political swerve.
We continue to read news articles from a variety of official sources, but a friend recommended we watch a YouTube Channel by Dr John Campbell. What a find that was, finally somewhere we could find out what was happening and what practical steps we could take to protect ourselves. I would highly recommend Dr John, as we call him.
We learned about the importance of Vitamin D and good nutrition in relation to Covid-19. We followed Dr John’s guidance on making the house safe and procedures to taken when receiving deliveries from couriers. That latter point was brought home recently by an outbreak in Bologna which centered around a courier distribution warehouse (and two of the delivery drivers tested positive). We first learned about the famous ‘R number’ from Dr John and what flattening the curve actually meant. A great source of information.
The Need For Information Coming Out Of Lockdown
The need for information has never stopped, though the emphasis may have changed. As we began to come out of Lockdown, we needed to keep up with all the different changes and rules. And we have to learn to live with Covid-19 until such time as there is a vaccine. So that flow of information, at local, national and international level, continues to be vital.
Overall, did we feel our need for information was met? Yes after a slow start, mainly because the whole thing was new to everyone!
In the next blog I look at the need to find new ways of communicating long distance.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!