By David Fleet
Martina Ferri says the COVID situation in northern Italy isn’t good.
The 20-year-old college student, lives in Ostiglia a commune in the Province of Mantua, Italy in the region Lombardy. The small suburb in northern Italy, has a population of 6,600 and is about 135 miles east of Milan. In 2017 Martina arrived in the United States and was an exchange student at Davison High School, during that time she joined the Goodrich Girl Scout Troop 31.
“We first had the news of the COVID virus on Feb. 21 2020,” said Martina via the WhatsApp. “They soon started closing schools and my college. It all happened so fast.”
According to news sources the COVID spread in Lombardy weeks before the first official case was confirmed. Some reports suggest the virus was ignored or dismissed by regional health authorities, as one explanation for the region becoming Italy’s “Ground Zero.” A third of Italy’s registered COVID-19 deaths – the highest number per capita in Italy are in Lombardy.
Ferri returned to Italy in the summer of 2018 and now lives with her family in a Ostiglia home. Martina is also a second year student at the University of Brescia where she studies medicine. On Wednesday The Citizen contacted Martina, who much like Michigan, is still under strict guidlines to prevent the spread of COVID and to some extent even more restrictions.
“We are divided by colors yellow, orange and red, and here in Lombardy we started as red zone since it is the region where we first registered ‘Patient 1,’ but fortunately now we are yellow zone so we can go around our region but can’t cross the boundary between other regions.
Right now I’m studying for my exams and actually one of them is going to be in presence so I think that’s a good sign.
At least we are trying to live with the virus while we can’t defeat it. Also here we started a vaccination campaign, the elders are all getting vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine while teachers are getting vaccinated with a vaccine that has 60 percent of protection, which is not that much but it’s still something.”
Not all people are upset about the restrictions, those who are are mainly young people that see restrictions as a way to avoid any kind of fun, she added
“In my opinion if everyone acted right, teenagers included, we could have avoided the large spreads we all assisted but sadly not everyone is willing to do so,” she said.
Like the United States the vaccine roll-out includes elders are first, as well as teachers and police staff and gradually get to the youngest.
“Middle and high school are in person, universities are doing everything online but there are some exceptions depending on the kind of exam, school or lesson,” she said.
“I think the government handled it okay even though sometimes I think it let people go prematurely to close us all after that,” she said. “Yet I think that government plans will work just if people are willing to follow them strictly because if they don’t there is not really much the government can do.”
“I think the past year taught all of us to care about what usually we take for granted like being able to go out for a walk, see friends, family and many other things that are not part of our routine anymore because of the virus,” she said. “Also I think it gave us more time to focus on ourselves, discover passions that you didn’t know or dedicate more time to those passions you already had.”