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A Letter from Maggie Trazzi of Italy

(This appeared in Headspring and it is a very enlightening and timely message)

Maggie is a Rotary Youth Exchange student who recently spent a year in Waupaca. Here’s her recent letter about her country’s COVID-19 situation. She appeals especially to youth to heed the call to self-isolate.


Hi everyone, this is Maggie, from italy. I probably would have preferred to write you one day and tell you that, despite how much I miss being there, my life was going pretty good, here in my country.

Unfortunately, that’s not the situation, not this time.

Day after day, this virus that you have surely heard, it becomes synonymous of “worry”, “anxiety” and “fear”...for yourself and your loved ones.

You probably know that in February, my country started to have a lot of people who were found to be positive to the Covid-19.

At the beginning we didn’t think it was anything to worry about.

Everyone’s first thought was “it’s just influenza”, and for this very reason today we find ourselves in this difficult situation.

We were wrong. 31,506 people have been infected in Italy in a very short time.

12,894 are hospitalized.

Those in intensive care are 2,060.

2,503 have died. Today, within 24 hours, 11 people only in my city have died because of this virus.

The numbers speak for themselves.

Until three weeks ago I was able to see my friends, go to school and go out.

Today, I have been stuck at home for 10 days; schools are closed, shops are closed, restaurants, bars parks...I could go on, but the list is long.

All this is to tell you, that the situation in a very short time changed a lot, in a really bad way.

We’re trying to live the situation with as much serenity as possible by trying to go out just to go to the supermarket, but we know that there is nothing good about it.

I am telling you all this, because I know that unfortunately many of you are not taking this situation seriously.

This breaks my heart, please listen.

We found ourselves in the same situation, saying it was just flu a few weeks ago, and because of this we’re having a hard time. You have the chance to make sure this doesn’t happen to you too, so please stay home and take the right precautions. This will work if only everyone is aware of the importance to be given to this emergency situation.

Our health system is one of the best in the world, and in just a few weeks even in the largest cities like Milan, it’s collapsing. There are no more places in hospitals...and only day when there won’t be the possibility of helping the most seriously ill patients by attaching them to a respirator, they’ll die.

Doctors and nurses are those who face this virus every day, with the risk of getting sick.

Many of them don’t go home, work 14 hours a day and don’t see their family.

We call them heroes, because when we were asked to stay at home with our families, they were asked to fight for Italy.

But my country is not giving up, it grits its teeth. Fundraising for hospitals has begun to try to have more places for intensive care.

Every day the country stops at 6 p.m., everyone goes out on their balcony to sing some songs and the hymn of Italy, and because of that hope in each of us grows everyday more and more.

We know that when this will end, we’ll return to our lives, to hug each other and to have aperitifs with friends. We won’t change, but we’ll be more aware and more grateful for everything that life has to offer to us every single day.

Today Italy turns 159.

From March 17, 1861 to today, we’re more united than ever.

Make it so for you too.

Don’t go empty the supermarkets, don’t be selfish, you have to support each other and don’t be afraid.

Don’t hurt each other.

The battle is still long, and together we can defeat it.

“All together to defeat the invisible enemy.”

I am sending you a virtual hug and I hope you are all well.

Stay home.

Maggie, from Italy