A man from Italy has recently made a series of Twitter posts listing the stages Italy has gone through in its reaction to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), and discussing the attitudes that everyday people have towards the virus. This is not medical advice. Contact your health practitioner if you have concerns.
The government is telling us that they are in charge, that they have a plan to deal with the virus, but the reality is that very few governments have plans. Singapore did, South Korea did, and a few other places did, but most countries, including Australia and the United States, are making it up as they go along.
Here are the six stages of the Coronavirus:
- People are aware of COVID-19, but they downplay it. “It’s like a bad flu,” they say. “Only people 75 years and older are dying. Everybody is overreacting.”
- Self-isolation and quarantines start happening. People are starting to worry, but the government has a plan and they are in charge. Except they aren’t.
- There is a rapid increase the number of cases of COVID-19. All travellers into the country are quarantined or isolated. Schools and universities start to close and aged care homes start to restrict visitors. However, workplaces, restaurants and bars remain open, and people are still free to move freely within the country. This is where we are right now in Australia.
- Deaths start to increase. A national emergency is called. Schools and hospitals close. Aged care homes close. There are not enough Intensive Care Units to deal with the number of patients, whether they have contracted COVID-19 or they have some other medical condition. Doctors and nurses are overworked and scarred. The medical system is being forced to choose who will receive treatment and who will not.
- Remember the people who were free to travel around the country in Stage 3? Well, the virus has now spread almost throughout the whole country. The economy is collapsing. People are now living in restricted zones.
- Almost all businesses are closed, except for shopping centres and chemists. All bars, restaurants and group activities are closed. You need identity documents to move around. There are checkpoints. There are criminal sanctions for moving around without identification.
Italy went from Stage 3 to Stage 5 within three to four days.
We are currently at Stage 3.
Stay at home, work from home if you can, socially distance yourself from other people, practice good hygiene and etiquette. Be kind.