Day 24 of lockdown in Italy: This morning I woke up, got up, felt a bit lacking and went back to bed and slept until 10:30am. As I was showering I was thinking about how sleeping a good 9 hours in a 24 hour period certainly helps at the moment. There is no particularly good reason for feeling tired all day when we don't HAVE to be catching an early bus to work, or taking Miss S to school by 8:15am or delivering classes before lunch.
And 9 hours accounts for 3.75% of the day so I might as well be blissfully aware of what's happening around the world for at least that much of the day.
I'm not entirely sure what happened today. Miss S started a new unit of work for her Australian English classes - evaluating media texts. She also tried to start her online Health and Physical Education module but technical issues with the videos got the better of us.
She created an art piece for International Autism Day for Italian school although I'm pretty sure most of the kids have no idea what autism is, and there has been no discussion about accepting, understanding and support people with autism.
She and I went out for another walk this afternoon, this time via the salumeria to pick up the last squashed loaf of ciabatta. She was doing that annoying thing kids do when they invent a series of noises just because they know it's annoying. But it's good to be outside, and I always love walking around the empty village. The snow on the mountains has already pretty much disappeared.
Laundry was folded, floors were swept, soup was made, Skype English lessons were conducted. I've just realised that my adult elementary group finishes up in two weeks time. I'm going to miss them. In good news, one of the other schools I was working for has been in touch asking me to prep some more online class material.
We received a water bill (ouch) and a new rental contract for our apartment. Officially we've been squatting for the last few days. Don't worry, the landlady is a lawyer.
The only COVID-19 news I'm reflecting on today is the fact that there are now over 1 million reported cases. "It took a month and a half for the first 100,000 cases to be registered. A million was reached after a doubling in cases over the past week." So a week ago we were at half a million. Today it's a million. If that doesn't convince you to stay at home, minimise your interractions with others and practice social distancing measures when you really need to be away from home than I don't know what will.
How long until we reach 2 million, and then 4 million....?
Today has been better. I've felt more balanced, engaged and motivated. The day has included lesson planning, cooking with Miss S, music and dancing and two lovely video chats. One with friend Naomi and the other with my darling sister Kim.
Miss S and I also went out for a long walk along the edge of the village today. Late last night I read an Italian news article clarifying that the government is now recognising how detrimental it is for children to be stuck inside all day, every day. A parent, not parents, is allowed to take a child for a walk, not a run or any other sportiing activity e.g. kicking the ball, provided it is in the vicinity of where you live. So armed with our forms, and overly confident about the spring weather we headed out. Without our heavy coats it was freezing. The wind was wild and chilly. As we came around the corner I noticed the snow on the nearby mountains. If we weren't locked down, we'd be in the car and heading up those mountains to find us some snow fun.
The website Ansa.it is reporting "A row has erupted in Italy over parents being allowed to take their children out for a short walk amid the coronavirus lockdown... regional governors have said such a move poses the risk of spreading the infection. Lombardy Welfare Councillor Giulio Gallera urged parents to "ignore this crazy, senseless and irresponsible circular". Parents around Italy were reportedly wary about taking their kids out amid a torrent of social-media abuse and some cat-calling from balconies."
This pretty much sums up my feeling on the two previous occasions we've gone out walking. At least now I know it's legal, but this is an example of hoqqthe culture here works and how people can't be trusted to obey the law and just apply comon sense and reason.
In contrast to such lunacy, we came home and whipped up a double batch of choc chip cookings and pasta bake.
Miss S tackled Italian Science and Maths today using Zoom and learnt about the respiratory system and some maths concept that eluded her for today. For some reason the teachers haven't been provided with a Zoom subscription so the session kept dropping out. Don't get me started. But at least this teacher is managing the whole class online at the same time. Although getting 10 year olds to understand that they need to mute their microphones seems to be a challenge.
I went to bed last night, after a long bath, and dinner cooked reluctantly but deliciously by Gigi, to cry and try to articulate what I was feeling. I guess it's a combination of the hormones, lock down blues, anxiety and sense of frustration. It's also the loss of control. I really struggle when my plans don't work out, and having absolutely no personal influence on the direction of our lives at the moment is more than challenging. It's completey disempowering.
Of course, last night, in bed I had none of that clarity so I sat there and cried. I then asked Gigi to watch Twilight with me (AGAIN) knowing I would fall asleep part way into it.
727 people died in Italy today from COVID-19 taking the total deaths to 13 155. But stay alert, because the UK reported 563 deaths in 24 hours. USA now has more than 200 000 cases of COVID-19 infections with 4 361 deaths. It's going to get a lot worse in the USA. Let's just hope that Trump's bombastic politicising of everything doesn't get too out of hand.
Sierre Leone has declared a 3 day (yes only 3 days) lock down starting on Sunday. The President of the Philippines is threatening to send in the police and the military with orders to shoot dead anyone causing trouble in relation to the month-long lock down imposed on the island of Luzon. The Kenyan President has apologised for the police violence following heavy handed police tactics used to enforce the dusk-dawn curfew. Brazil has reported its first indigenous COVID-19 case, with a 19 year-old woman deep in the Amazon rainforest testing positive. Of Africa's 54 countries, only five have yet to report a case of the virus.
In New Zealand, police are warning the thieves who stole a tent set up outside a hospital being used for COVID-19 testing, to get tested themselves as they are now at risk. The White House is projecting between 100 000 - 240 000 Americans will die from COVID-19 if social distancing measures are maintained. Japan Post is suspending the deliviery of letters and parcels to 150 countries (excluding US, Australia, France and Hong Kong) due to cancelled flights.
In a moment of stating the bleeding obvious, the UN chief has stated that COVID-19 pandemic is the most serious crisis facing the world since WWII.
In better news the CSIRO in Australia is launching initial trials for two potential COVID-19 vaccines. In Queensland, home confinement has been extended by regulation to 19 May 2020 and may be extended further. That's six weeks. Australia is handing COVID-19 quite differently to Italy and I hope that it remains in the home confinement phase without moving to lock down as in Italy. It is very possible, with Australians more often than not acting with the community and society at large as a priority. Dr Norman Swan though is warning that life won't get back to 100% normal until we have a vaccine in place.
A high number of cases have been detected around Bondi Beach and local doctors are now being allowed to test without restriction. This discretion is being extended more and more across Australia. A new study is also suggesting that only about 10% of children are the first case of COVIV-19. This is much lower than the case with the influenze virus.That means that children are not the high transmitters that they were first thought to be. It seems to be more about the 20-29 year old group who are the primary spreaders. Which also helps explain how it's travelled around the world so successfully.
The ABC has a daily podcast about COVID-19 called Coronacast that is a good 10 minute listen without alarmism or hype. https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/coronacast/
Photos of snow dusted mountains, choc chip cookies and a love artwork from Miss S for your viewing pleasure. They certainly made my day more pleasurable.