Emails to America: From Italy, In the Time of Coronavirus, Part II

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This is an multi-part series showcasing early warnings to family and friends from an American expat in Italy. To read the series from the beginning, click here.

March 8, 2020

Editor’s Note: On this date, the United States has more than 550 cases of coronavirus. Coronavirus has spread to Georgia, which reports 11 cases; Texas, which reports 12; and Nebraska, which reports 3. The Regal Princess has been given clearance to dock at Port Everglades, Florida, after two crew members test positive. Arizona congressmember Paul Gosar self-quarantines after coming into contact with a man at CPAC who later tested positive.

If I have included you in this email it is because you are a person who, in some small or large way, I care about. That’s why I want you to read it, from beginning to end. I will also attach some articles and memes, which I want you to read, from beginning to end. 

Please take the time to do this. Please take the time. . . .

Just a little reminder. We live in Lombardy, Italy which has now been cordoned off completely and declared a red zone. Warning. There will be politics in this email. It’s necessary.

Let’s begin. . . When Sarah Kendzior, journalist, author and expert on authoritarian states coined the now celebrated phrase “A gaslit nation is [becomes] engulfed in flames,” she had not yet met COVID-19/coronavirus. I have. 

First, an important premise: For the past 3+ years you have been fed a steady diet of lies and misinformation. This was not done haphazardly or simply because the US President is an idiot. He is. And he is not. 

You have been gaslit.

And you have been subjected to a propaganda technique called the firehose of lies.

Whether you support Trump, love Trump, hate Trump, ignore Trump or believe that you are completely indifferent to Trump, your powers of critical thinking have been affected. That’s why it’s very important that you listen to me right now and you listen carefully to what I have to say. 

Yes, I’m acting just like the Donald. Believe me and only me, for I am the only source of TRUTH. 


Oh, it also spreads like wildfire. These are the latest numbers from Italy.

The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has jumped by at least 133 in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 366.

Italy imposed a quarantine in Lombardy and other severely affected areas, impacting some 16 million people as it stepped up efforts to tackle Europe’s largest outbreak.

The move came as the struggles to contain the virus’s spread, with 1,247 new cases detected in the last 24 hours – a 25 percent surge. As of Sunday, Italy confirmed 7,375 infections.

Al Jazeera, March 8, 2020

Now, this article is going to scare you but I want you to read it. You need to be scared. What is happening in Italy will soon happen in the USA.

And this is happening nothwithstanding the fact that we’re keeping track. People are being tested, for free and with a very quick turnaround time, even as quick as four to six hours, to know whether they are positive or not. None of this is being done in the United States, and I know it will be but you are too late. Yes. The US federal government just plain fucked that up!!

So what I’m going to tell you now is to trust your state government and also to trust any information that is coming from the CDC. Despite the FACT that this agency was decimated in 2018 they are still surely trying their best and probably disseminating good/useful information. Don’t listen to any of your mass media. They are either not properly informed, don’t want to cause a panic or, for whatever partisan reason, prefer that you don’t know how bad this could be or how bad it could get. Every time I put on CNN I just shake my head because mostly they are still speaking about it as if it’s a problem in other countries although that will certainly change. They won’t be able to ignore it much longer. I’ll remind you that in Italy much of our information comes from state-run channels such as the RAI so we are getting almost too much information and we’re tired of hearing about the coronavirus but at least we are staying well informed and know what the government wants us to do. Trying to get the Italians to follow rules however is and always has been a challenge. 

Compare this with China which has just now begun to get things under control but only with draconian measures, with the full cooperation of the general public (remember kids, they were communists not so long ago and some would argue that to a great degree they still are) and with their full understanding of the danger of these types of viruses. Need I remind you that they lived through SARS?

OK. Now that I have hopefully convinced you that you are not thinking perfectly straight and that you really should be SCARED I’m going to give you the good news. There are plenty of things you can do to stay safe. But I STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you start doing them RIGHT NOW. Don’t wait for anyone to tell you what you need to do.

  • Limit your social contacts to a bare minimum.
  • Stay at home as much as is physically possible.
  • Avoid large events and crowded places.
  • No need to hoard but make sure you have enough stuff for a couple of weeks so you can stay inside or at home more. Make sure you have a good supply of any medicines you need.
  • Fresh air is good so working in your garden or taking walks is fine.
  • Keep your house very clean and disinfect the surfaces often. Wash your clothes more often.
  • Get lots of sleep, keep your immune system strong, & drink hot beverages everyday.
  • Wear a mask only if you are sick. Health professionals are going to need them.
  • Wash your hands a lot. If you can’t get to soap and water use a strongly alcoholic hand sanitizer.
  • Try not to touch your face (I hate this one), at least until you’ve washed or sanitized your hands.

You don’t want to get this shit and you don’t want to give it to anyone. Here in Italy they have already started using triage in the hospitals. 

I realize I may have offended some people with this email. I realize I may be accused of fearmongering, of being an alarmist, of overreacting (I do that sometimes) and yes, I have been clearly and blatantly political.

Once again, I premised this email with the fact that for the past 3+ years you have been subjected to brainwashing because I am worried that your faculties of critical thinking have been impaired. And I am sounding this alarm because I honestly care about all of you. Please think about putting your life on hold right now. You don’t want to fall victim to the coronavirus. It is NOT just a bad flu. It is much worse.

I hope you’ll seriously consider everything I have written above.


Click here for Part III; here for Part IV; here for Part V; here for Part VI; and here for Part VII.

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