Dear readers, let me welcome you to the first-ever English written post of this blog. It has been an idea of mine to start writing in English for a very long time, but due to busy days (and mostly extreme levels of procrastination) it is one on which I have never acted on before. To save my ass from critique, bear with me as I get the hang of writing in this language which I have known for almost 20 years but that is, in fact, not my first one.
Now, before we start and get deep in this article, let me give you a little background about myself.
My name is Marqo, I’m 28 years old and I’m from Italy. Of the 28 years I’ve been on this earth, the last 12 I have spent on a wheelchair due to a backflip gone wrong. Sounds like an interesting story? Trust me, it is! But this is not the time nor the place to tell it. Just know that ending in a wheelchair at 16 has in no way affected the fire that burns inside me. I’m still longing for a better life, financial independence and everything that comes with it.
This hunger, this ambition if you prefer to call it that way, has led to me becoming an entrepreneur, starting two businesses and being almost totally independent from my family. I have traveled around the world, told my story in front of up to 600 people, had girlfriends and breakups, joy and despair, ups and downs. And even though I’m nowhere near the man I dream to become, I can proudly say that up to this point I have lived a very fulfilling life. But enough with me bragging, let’s get to the point!
As you can probably tell from the title, this post doesn’t come in a very happy time for for my country. We are in the middle of a world pandemic crisis, and Italy seems to be the western country where the virus has hit the hardest. I’m not an expert on the subject, but it doesn’t take a PhD to understand that the situation isn’t looking too bright.
As I’m writing these words, the town I live in is unusually dark and deserted. The once lively roads filled with cars driving towards the many restaurants in the area, have been replaced by nothing but dead silence. People have been ordered by the government to stay at home in a quarantine-like state, and are allowed to leave the house for a few specific reasons such as work, health related issues and first necessity products shopping. Other than those, if you’re caught wondering around by the police patrolling the streets and have no valid reason to be doing it, you’ll get fined.
So here I am sitting at my desk, pondering on the fact that the town I’ve known (and hated) all my life is no longer an acquaintance, but a stranger.
It’s really incredible if I think about the fact that just three weeks ago the scenario I’m living right now was unimaginable. News about the corona virus had been spreading for about a month, but the possibility of it reaching my country felt very slim. Being 28, I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of viruses ranging from the mad cow disease, to the SARS going all the way to Ebola. Different viruses coming from different parts of the world, all sharing the same characteristic: extreme panic coming from the media.
This fact combined with clickbait techniques adopted in these recent years by every news media outlet, has led me to believe less and less the information they put out every single day, and it was the same for the COVID-19.
I took it lightly, complained about people’s psychosis and went on with my day to day routine. Then came the first infected person in Italy, things started to get more serious and my main business had to close its doors. It was just a matter of days before the virus spread throughout northern Italy, reaching my hometown and claiming its first victims.
Despite the total lack of support from our government, who has yet to release a strict set of rules for the population to follow, myself and many other entrepreneurs in the area decided to shut down all operations in order to prevent the virus from spreading.
I started to document myself on the subject, looking for a truly reliable source amongst the vast sea of misinformation I’m forced to navigate every single day. My search came to an abrupt stop last Friday night, when I found Michael Osterholm’s interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast. He is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology who has tons of experience on the subject, and that was finally able to clear my doubts about COVID-19 and give me an exact idea on what the menace we are facing actually is.
His advice? Do not take this virus lightly. He finishes the interview on a positive note, saying that he has no doubt we will get through this pandemic. Whether this will be achieved by an immense sacrifice of human lives, it is yet to be known.
Now, if you made it all the way to here, you’re probably asking yourself why. Why am I sharing all this with you? There is not a single answer, as I tend to write in order to exorcise my bad thoughts and this article could be just that. Maybe I’m doing it to spend the enormous amount of free time I have forcefully been handed, in a slightly productive way. Maybe it’s simply the belief that looking at the world with a different pair of lenses, from someone else’s perspective, is the key to preventing tragedies. Or maybe for no reason at all.
Whichever it is, I’m more than aware of the fact that I have many friends spread throughout the world, and that in many of their countries corona virus is still being laughed at.
When it should be taken very seriously.
Till next time,
take care, wash your hands and be safe.