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Covid-19 is deadly, although fatality rates skyrocket for old people only.
Anyway, I am Italian and I may have the virus, so I think I can be of help. You need to prepare.
Be prepared by absorbing as much information as you can. Learn from us. What’s the real problem here, mortality rate? Nope, it’s the possibility of healthcare collapse due to too many cases at the same time. If you can avoid that, then you’re really fine, because the rate of survival of people with no pre-existing conditions who end up in intensive care should be decent. Recovery is slow, though, and that’s why available reception capacity is so vital.
Next point, authority. Even if you didn’t vote for them, like I didn’t, right now learn to trust the government if they’re taking action. It’s not because they’re more intelligent or more prepared than you, certainly, but they are the only people with access to all of the available information. Knowledge is power, now more than ever. We are able to evaluate and predict the effect of the measures, so there’s a reason they’ve been taken. Try to set aside political differences as much as possible right now. They’re of no help whatsoever. There will be plenty of time to assign blame if you wish, but this is an emergency.
Next point, quarantine. If you get the virus, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t break quarantine with no reason. Statistics are very very clear here, the fastest possible way to break the exponential growth and start to see the logistic slow-down is to avoid any social contact. That way, the possibility of infected people spreading the disease are minimal. Since we’re adding up the behavior of an entire population, every single individual choice matters: we need to act as one big entity to control the chaos. Again, trust the government, they’re the only one with the means to guide that one big entity.
Quarantine means that you need to change your lifestyle for a bit. No more superfluous actions, but let’s talk about what you can do. You can go back to your residency location if you happen to be far from it. Tourists can get back, if you’re a student you can go back to your family, but I advise you NOT to do so. There is no reason to expose your family to the virus if you already caught it, or viceversa. Just wait 2 weeks. Goods will be always allowed to circulate, so there is no need to raid the supermarket. There ALWAYS will be food. Do not buy too many sanitary products either. Again, we need to act as a whole and there are some people who really need it and can’t run out. Again, supply will come, although more slowly. You can, once in a while, go for a run BY YOURSELF, don’t make it too long and don’t interact with anyone. The virus only spreads with close human contact, so even if you have no symptoms you can still infect someone. Remember again, act as a whole! If everyone starts going for a walk at the same time, then it’s not safe anymore. Do not force the government to take excessive actions, they may overreact and we want to avoid it.
Quarantine can also create a strange sense of community. I’ve seen people singing and dancing from their balconies, complete strangers talking from their windows, more acts of solidarity that I can count, tons of signs comforting one another with “it will be okay”. People are coming together, and even if someone fakes it, it FEELS real. You may think that’s cringy, and I get that it may not be for everyone, but it can make a huge difference. Especially if you live alone.
You’ll talk to friends you didn’t hear from in a while, you’ll set aside most conflicts because what the hell, there is a fucking pandemic around here and it certainly can wait! Actually, I feel less lonely now that I did 2 weeks ago, and I haven’t left my house in more than a week.
Finally, the virus itself. This is going to be very subjective, but I can share my experience. I developed symptoms last Saturday night, so it’s been almost a week now. It feels like a bad cold to me, but it’s lasted waaaay longer, for me a cold is 3 days normally. My fever has been going slowly up, at first so mild I felt perfectly fine, then it got worse. Paracetamol lowers it, but it usually comes back up. Especially during the evening. Coughing so much is VERY annoying. It’s strange, I don’t know how to explain it but it’s almost like when you drink water and it goes in the wrong pipe, so you get a burst of cough for a couple of minutes, quite often… Drink a lot of water, if you’re on a diet stop it, eat even if you’re not so hungry. If you feel out of breath, IMMEDIATELY call the emergency number.
Depending on how many cases there are in your country, you may go to the hospital only if you have tested positive to covid-19 or only if you really need respiratory assistance. That is how it is in Italy at the moment.
Follow, of course, all the WHO guidelines and, hope it’s pointless to say now, wash your hands. And do not panic. Never. We will be okay, trust me.
Edit: I didn’t expect so much visibility, so first of all a big thank to everyone who read, shared and even translated the answer.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to focus on my condition in particular, because guys, this is too subjective to be of any real help. There are people who had mild fever for a couple of days and then it all went away, there are people whose fever last a bit longer like me and there are people who are not able to breathe without external help. I’ve been asked to transform this in a sort of diary, and I’m happy to do it, but I won’t focus on my symptoms or any medical fact. I am not a doctor and in no way qualified to give medical opinions. I can, however, give insights about the situation in Italy, about how quarantine works and feels like and about how the situation will evolve in the upcoming days.
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