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

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This is a 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.

Editor’s Note: On this date, the United States has 100,000 coronavirus cases – more than any country in the world – with one quarter in New York City; at least 1,588 Americans have died. Multiple states announce severe shortages of personal protective equipment and life-saving medical equipment. At least 21 states have ordered residents to stay at home, and several states announce that schools will not reopen this academic year. As a result of the shutdowns, jobless claims reach over 3 million. Trump signs the CARES Act, a $2 trillion economic stimulus package to provide financial aid to struggling American workers, small businesses and industries.

March 27, 2020 – Just One More Time. . . STAY AT HOME!

I was going to focus this email on a specific plea to Californians as my brother alerted me to what happened last weekend after Governor Newsom mandated shelter in place for most of the state. Seems like “taking walks in the fresh air” was widely interpreted as “jump in the car with the whole family, drive to state parks and beaches for outings, consequently creating a crowd situation”!! Voila – a perfect way to spread more coronavirus. I wrote a little thread about it, even scolding our local paper, The Press Democrat, for encouraging this sort of thing.

But that’s not the half of it. Because in the past couple of days I am seeing things being suggested that quite simply make my blood boil. Things that make me want to SCREAM!! 

First Lt. Governor of Texas Dan Patrick goes on Fox News and suggests that Americans might just have to sacrifice a few grandparents for the economy.

Next night, our friend Tucker Carlson brings out Brit Hume to hammer in the point; no mention of how hospitals will be overwhelmed, no mention of the horrible way people die from this disease (asphyxiation, gasping for their last breaths), no mention of the fact that anywhere from 500,000 to 1 MILLION AMERICANS could DIE from this shit. No. Just,“Yeah people get upset when we talk like this because. . . Donald Trump.” 

Congratulations Fox News. A new narrative is born! And this is a narrative that is being robustly pushed by the President of the United States of America.

Not much worse than the flu. Lots of people die from that too. 

Trump on social distancing:

Host Bill Hemmer replies, “That would be a great American resurrection.” Also, a beautiful slogan came out of this interview: “The cure is worse than the problem” and then one last incredible, tremendous suggestion by the President, he’d like to see “packed churches all over our country” for Easter Sunday. 

For the good lovin’ holy Mother of God America!! WHAT ARE THEY THINKING!?

So I see this President, who so MANY Americans believe and believe in, on one of the most watched cable news channels in the entire nation, and I see him taking millions of people by their gaslit little hands and leading them to the edge of the cliff like lemmings just to watch them willingly… leap to their deaths? 

I can only surmise that the Cult of Trump – and it is nothing less than that – has now become a DEATH CULT! 

Many of us Californians remember the massacre in the jungles of Guyana as the cult leader Jim Jones convinced each and every one of his followers to drink poisoned Kool Aid and die together in a big pile on the ground. Some of us knew some of those people.

I hope I’ve made my point. 

Those of us who are not members of the Trump Cult don’t call it the Fox Kool Aid for nothin!!

Now I know that at this point I’ve offended some of you, turned off many of you, lost any credibility I might have had regarding the arguments around COVID-19 but to be perfectly honest, I don’t care. 

After undergoing a 3-hour ordeal called “grocery shopping” the other day, complete with mask and gloves, the long wait outside the store, the stripdown and shower afterwords, the cleansing and disinfecting (done by my wife) of most of what was purchased, I can only tell you this. I choose to survive. I choose to keep myself and my immediate family alive. I know in my heart and my (still perfectly good) mind that the country I live in is doing the right thing and YES, of course we are all making sacrifices. I am working at home while using up 10 days of my vacation time and will soon be put into cassa integrazione which means staying at home, not working, getting paid half of my usual salary. And I work for a very large company which has, probably wisely, chosen to use some government “shock absorbers” to stay alive and remain fiscally healthy. I’m willing to make that sacrifice so that when this is all over I have a job to go back to. But I, personally, am not willing to sacrifice one life. Perhaps this thing about the grandparents hit too close to home for me because we (obviously) can’t be with my in-laws who live just 50 kilometers away and my daughter is terrified that they will get the disease, die in hospital, be carried off in boxes with no funeral and she’ll never see them again. So here in Italy, NO Brit Hume, we are NOT willing to sacrifice our elderly for the fucking economy!!

But I can tell you one thing kids. America will NOT be open for business by Easter. Italy will certainly not be open for business by Easter and we’ve been under lockdown with the measures, fines and arrests becoming stricter every day, since March 10! But that’s two weeks. Remember, it took China almost 2 months to get this thing under control and there are still some doubts as to whether it is under control enough to ease the restrictions.

. . . and China’s restrictions were DRACONIAN!!

So I know Americans love their freedom. I love mine too. But America is in an extremely difficult situation right now and because there is no clear guidance coming from the federal government – a government, by the way, that has been hostile to science, scientific evidence and experts from all walks of life – each state of the Union will have to go it alone. This is going to make life extremely chaotic and difficult for the entire country. If there is not unity among the American people right now I’m not sure quite how you’re gonna get through this thing. There are ways, however, using science, testing, statistics and controls to beat this thing and maybe even beat it without keeping everyone at home all the time.

The scientific community is talking about mass testing and contact tracing as a possible non-pharmaceutical intervention, until such time as we have either proper medicines and /or a vaccine.

So while it’s certainly not time to stop social distancing or isolation, it is past time to listen to the experts and carefully study what other countries like China have done to successfully stop the spread and flatten the curve. Even the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association have written you, the American people, an open letter asking you to please cooperate.

So yeah. My recommendation is to spend Easter with the ones closest to you, the ones you love most, making sure (if you can) that you are not infected with the coronavirus before you come into contact with the eldest members of your family. Unfortunately, this virus can be spread by those who are asymptomatic. And even though I know you’re all getting with the program now (per forza, as we say here in Italy), I’ll leave you once again with perhaps the best easy outline of social distancing I’ve read and remind you NOT to listen to one word that comes out of the mouth of a failed businessman, washed up reality TV star, narcissistic personality disorder

who has been masquerading as the US President for more than three years now. 

My motto. . .


Sorry for the picture of Guyana.

Click here for Part VII.

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