How to survive coronavirus (from my Italian friends)

*Please excuse this post.  It will suck and have grammatical errors and all that jazz.  I am trying to work (from home) on a deadline and finish this post within 10 minutes so it can be shared as this info needs to get out there because I think it’s important and a friend asked for it.

I have been asking questions and wasn’t really getting answers, so I went directly to the source: My Italian friends.  The content from the Italians are at the bottom of this post and bolded.  You probably came here for that post.  So feel free to share it.

Don’t want to read the whole thing? STAY HOME.  PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING and WASH YOUR HANDS!

EDIT:  Let me just post the following link, for those of you who have a little anxiety regarding this whole crazy situation.  Tips for manging anxiety during the covid-19 pandemic  (There ain’t no shame.  We’ve never been through anything like this in our lifetime.  Some of us (myself and few friends) are wearing our anxiety on the outside and some of you wear it on the inside, but I know all you mofos are just as nervous on the inside as the rest of us, you just don’t talk about it.

I want people to understand what’s going on.  I was one of those people who thought doomsday preppers were just flipping out because their tinfoil hats were too thin.  But entire countries are on lockdown and the signs that happened there are happening here.  I want to document how it unfolded in my eyes because I want others to understand that I was pretty nonchalant about it until Friday.

Yes, old and vulnerable people with existing conditions are at risk, but so are people aged 20-50.  Watch the interviews with the Italian doctors, they state young people who are seemingly healthy are being incubated and having severe cases of Covid-19 and dying.  Better yet, watch the video posted below of a hospital in Lombardy today.  There isn’t enough equipment and doctors are having to choose who lives or dies in some hospitals because there are not enough ventilators, beds or other equipment.  Some people who do recover will have permanent lung damage or other health complications for the rest of their lives.

If you think I’m crazy, I don’t care.  I do however care about my life,  my family and I’m not willing to take the risk of not taking precautions and be wrong when the math is showing a trend, a pattern.  Better safe than sorry.  I know you believe some of this is true, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this or someone who cares about you wouldn’t have shared it.

Stay safe everyone, and stay home.

Here is a Covid-19 Map

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To Doctors, Nurses and Medical staff, thank you for working tirelessly.  If there is anything you need, please ask your community. your city.  We are listening.

To First Responders, store staff, reporters, camera peeps and other people who have to work at this time, please stay safe.  Thank you to you all as for being out there.

________________________________

It’s Tuesday, March 17, 2020, and its 6:39am.  I can’t sleep.  I don’t sleep much these days because the buzz of anxiety is thick and it hangs over my city.  Go figure,  I wake up early with no problem and I’m working from home.  When I have to go to work, I drag my ass out of bed and take forever to wake up.

A week ago I was grumbling about daylight savings time and how everything was dark again.

I’d love to go back to that.

Last Friday, as a Joke I posted this, but life, as we know it, has changed.

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The irony is this shit is real and it feels like I’m in a movie or on an episode of The Walking Dead and I’m some character that they never showed.  I keep thinking I’m still dreaming and stuck in some weird Twilight Zone episode where the world is completely being undone by a virus.

coronavirus, Covid-19, Novel coronavirus whatever you want to call it is real.

I want to start with my timeline and understanding of it because I’m pretty sure you’re just like me.  Someone busy living their life that didn’t really understand how serious Coronavirus is.

In December-January, I remember hearing reports of it and how it was in Wuhan.  I just thought China is dirty.  It’s like every other disease comes from there because they eat weird animals.  This too will just fade away.  I knew from a course I took that briefly covered Zoonotic diseases that things that are fairly harmless can jump from one species to another and F— Shit up. But things just come and go, right?

Then I hear it spread about in Asia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong.  The usual suspects, neighboring countries.  I think nothing of it.  SARS happened but we survived.  H1N1 and Swine flu happened and it’s all good right?  Ebola happened but it’s kind of under wraps.  The Plague is back, but it’s just in Madagascar.  This too shall pass.

Then I heard it spread to Iran and then Italy.  Oh, it’s moving West because of travel.

Around the end of January,  it came home and we got our first case in Toronto.  I kept tabs on the news, and then there were 3 more.  It stayed this way for quite some time so I kind of thought it wasn’t all that serious.

In mid-February, a Professor I knew went to Italy for a conference and came back and said, the situation looked like it was getting serious.  Around February 25 it was at 229 cases.  He joked that he was ok when he coughed and we laughed.  Now when someone coughs, it’s serious and you’re ready to take them out, except you don’t want to touch them or come within meters of them.

Around mid-February, we started hearing of people in Costco buying up toilet paper and hoarding non-perishables like bags of rice.  We laughed at them because it seemed dystopian and stupid.  I mean why would you stock up on toilet paper?  This question has inspired many memes, but I’m still wondering what the motivation was behind this, and I am sure you are just as puzzled as I am.  Whatever the reason is, I think people who were living in a Covid-19 afflicted area were reporting back to their family in the here hence the anxiety.

Last Wednesday (March 11, 2020) the WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic.  The next day  (Thursday) the Province announced public schools would be closed until April 5.  Basically March break + 2 weeks for quarantine.  How are we going to get through this we asked?  How can people take 3 weeks off of work to watch their kids?

Around this same time, Tom Hanks announced he and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive.  The NBA suspended the season as two of its players tested positive, one of which who didn’t take it seriously and was touching mics and reporters’ cellphones at a press conference.  The NHL and all other sports leagues closed down.  Then Disney announced it was shutting its parks.  Shit is getting real.

Thursday evening, one of my coworkers messaged us in a group chat and told us she was told not to come into work as she may have come into contact with someone (let’s call them Person A) from the public who had Corona symptoms and went to get tested.  She was told to quarantine herself for 14 days.

Everyone in the group chat started freaking out, especially another co-worker and myself who had been around her as we had lunch with her the day before.  It turned out we were safe as saw her the day before she came into contact with Person A.  But what about all the people that came into contact with Person A that same day? What about the people that came into contact with Person A before they got symptoms and realized they were infected?!

This is when it hit us on how this thing spreads.  We don’t know if this Person A who came to our workplace was coming for the past two weeks at a point when they were asymptomatic.  My coworker (who is feeling fine and has no symptoms) came into contact with someone who had or may have it and that’s when I realized how close this can hit home for all of us with only a few degrees of separation.  On top of this, how do you know what your day 1, 5 or 8 is?  You typically don’t know when you get you got infected because you don’t exhibit signs in the early days of infection.

Below is a video explaining why it’s important to practice Social Distancing and why having a controlled rate of exposure is important.  (Watch it, it’ll be the best 6 minutes of your life in the near future). The scary reality is we will all be at risk for getting Corona due to its contagious nature.  The fact is if you, I or someone we love gets it, we want to make sure it’s not when 80% of the population is trying to also seek treatment.  God bless universal healthcare in Canada, but I don’t need to tell you how long you will end up waiting for treatment for a regular issue in the Emergency Room, most of you already know.  Do we want to even imagine when everyone is equally sick and possibly dying of the same virus at the same time?  When thousands of people are trying to get treatment at the hospital at the same time?!

It sounds stupid to say, but I didn’t realize the impact of this until it was a few degrees away from me.  There’s something about media and news that makes most things seem far away and a bit like a fantasy for most of us, with the exception of first responders  (and doctors in this case) I think, who knows what the world is really like or how messed up it can be.

Friday (March 13th) we went to work and there was anxiety hanging in the air.  Our boss who is amazing told us to take our laptop and phones home and though it was business as usual, we (our small team of 3) could work from home the next week.  She said there were a lot of meetings and that they would be sending an email soon.  We did have some coworkers who didn’t take it seriously and here we are on the verge of a shutdown.  I know what you’re thinking, it’s not shutdown or lockdown. But if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck…

I could see the signs of a shut down coming (things like gyms, stores closing or restaurants and bars being made to close). The question was when it will happen.  Friends in the military were relaying messages that the shut down is coming.  They have been in training.

The weekend was a bit of a blur but there was hardly any traffic or anyone out.  I watched videos on how Italy was coping with being on lockdown.  What was open? When could you go for groceries? where are all the bodies?  Iran was digging mass graves. What are the Italians doing? More on that later.

The news reported about Italians singing from their balcony.  God bless the Italians.  I do have much affection for that country and those people as I was fortunate enough to live in Siena one summer.  (the video in the link opens with people from Siena singing beautifully).

Though I rarely post on Facebook now, I posted asking for information from my friends all around the world and how they were all coping and if they were on lockdown.  I got information from friends in Korea, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Thailand and how they are doing and what’s going on in their part of the world. I messaged my Italian friends.  One sternly told me to not be around anyone.

Yesterday (Monday, March 16, 2020) we hit 416 cases and 3 deaths in Canada. I was never good at math, but looking at the graphs we are not where we want to be in terms of controlling (flattening the curve) how this plays out. The numbers are jumping substantially in the same way it did in Italy.

Here’s a video explaining the math for the rest of you who weren’t born with the Math gene like myself.

 

Yesterday Trudeau closed the borders, the City closed restaurants for dine-in service.

This morning, Ford declared a State of emergency.  Trudeau is having a conference now (as I am posting this) and is considering emergency measures.

here are the screenshots from one of conversations with one of my Italian friends.

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The second was my Doctor friend who is in Northern Italy.   Who told me the following:

In relation to Covid-19:

The Incubation period is on average 4-14 days, but most common is symptoms showing on days 5-6.

The first symptoms are often Fever, and coughing and then Aspiration issues (breathing problems).   Some people experience weight loss.

here is a PDF that my doctor friend gave me.

He stated that society has radically changed. There is no touching or close contact anymore. This is Love in the Time of Covid.

We continued the conversation on tips and he mentioned to not touch your face, touch any surface (doorknobs, light switches, etc) that other people have. Wash your hands plenty.

Italy jumped from 25,000 yesterday to 27,000 today for the amount of infected.  Do you have any idea what 25,000 looks like?  I don’t, but it’s like a stadium full of people.  I know that many sporting arenas have that capacity, but I’ve never been in one that is at full capacity.  I think i know what a few thousand people look like. I don’t want to imagine what 27,000 sick people look like and whatever percentage of that may require hospitalization because there ain’t a hospital in the world that could deal with that capacity or even a few hundred all at the same time.

He mentioned that a food delivery person did spread Covid-19 to others. He stated this is a time to buy your own food and cook yourself.

He said that you should leave your shoes outside and wash your clothes.  I happen to shower every time I return to the house now because I don’t know if I walked through a cloud of Coronavirus that someone coughed or sneezed through 5 minutes earlier.  Perhaps it’s something we should all do, practice hygiene like someone who has OCD until we have more answers or a vaccine.

In addition to Social distancing, there are social media that we can use to connect to others so that you feel less lonely.  This is how we love in the time of Covid. 😦

Our conversation can be heard here.  it is 14 minutes long.  He mentions how Germany tried to steal their masks and how they are hiring doctors from all over the world.

here is a video of a hospital in Lombardy he also sent me.

He also sent these pictures, of a Church. There are so many dying they can’t bury them all.  

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Here are some graphs.

 

 

 

anyhoo, I have to go back and do some work now and watch the press conference that’s going on right now.

If you actually read this whole thing, thank you for taking the time to listen to my thoughts and feelings.

If you skipped down for the Italians, that’s cool too. feel free to share it.

 

TL; DR

I talked to Italians to figure out what was going on.

The world needs to take Coronavirus seriously, I like you laughed.

Toronto from March 11-to Present

If you are able, STAY HOME

Italians and all that they had to say about lockdown and Coronavirus.

In conclusion, if you can, STAY THE F—- HOME.

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