Last night, as all of Italia received the news of the latest COVID-19 numbers, you could almost hear a collective, national sigh of grief. 368 people died in a single day, the highest number of deaths in one day so far. The new death toll is 1,809 nationally, 1,218 of those deaths are here in Lombardy. As we approach the peak of the virus this week, we’re bracing ourselves for the worst.
This morning, as I read the local news and as I skimmed through the headlines, I read story after story of the suffering in Bergamo, a town 40 minutes north of here. Of all the provinces of Lombardy, Bergamo has suffered the worst losses. One article in particular brought me to tears. The author describes the situation in Bergamo with chilling detail: a burial takes place every half hour, everyone has either lost someone or knows someone who has died, a whole generation is being wiped out. He goes onto to say that, in Bergamo, no one is singing or clapping from their balconies. He ends his article with these words:
“Perhaps this massive loss of life has not been understood nationally and internationally because we are a reserved people, we don’t like the limelight. Yet we would like to shout out to all the world: stay at home, protect yourself. This storm named Coronavirus is taking a generation away from our society, a wealth of wisdom and love: there is no time to waste. Who can and has understood holds loved ones as if under a display case, venerates them as a relic. Protect them against any contact with the outside world, because outside this invisible glass it would be the end for them. No, even if we wanted to, we could not sing and applaud on our balconies: our hearts are swollen with pain.”
Pray for Bergamo, pray for Lombardy, pray for Italy. May this come to an end soon.