Days of Silence: The spreading of Corona Virus in Northern Italy

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Kyt – Are you and your parents okay? We heard the news. Are you in the red zone?

When did this all happen?

Airport of Dallas – Fort Worth, January 31st.

While waiting for my flight back to Northern Italy, the TVs started reporting the first cases of COVID-19 inside China. Usually, when you’re at the airport you don’t pay much attention to the news. My mind was still on the Texas hill country, where I  spent the last few days tracking after attending the Shot Show in Vegas. 

The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.”

I was kind in a daze when I realized that the media started to compare the ongoing emergency to SARS’ case, back in 2003 with some slight differences.

Different numbers, an explosive outbreak. 

Hundreds of deaths already recorded, which soon turned into thousands.

We are all acquainted with the gargantuan tones that newspapers and TV news adopted in the last Century. Aren’t we? Every week a new catastrophe is knocking at our doors. I don’t want to sound argumentative. The purpose of this article is to tell you the pure truth of what exactly happened in Italy, with honesty and also.. humanity. 

From Il Post

January, 31st. Two Chinese tourists tested positive for the virus in Rome.

In Lombardy, the region where now I am in, 60 individuals were reported to have the disease on February, 21st.

In an effort to contain the spreading of the COVID-19, Italian Authorities voted to quarantine all the small cities involved in the infection: 10 districts, more than 50,000 persons. Patient 1 claimed he had dinner with a colleague who just came back from China. But he tested negative. So.. how was it possible?

Lessons from the past came back in use: the only way to be successful in restraining the outbreak is ISOLATION. Think about the plague in 1629-1631. That epidemic caused nearly 500,000 deaths.

Foto Claudio Furlan – LaPresse 24 Febbraio 2020 Casalpusterlengo (Italia) News Check point nel lodigiano per regolare gli spostamenti nella zona rossa del coronavirus Nella foto: il blocco di Castelpusterlengo

But what does isolation mean, exactly?

Lockdown for people at home, especially the ederly (they happen to be more likely to get infected, specifically those who are weak, with over complicated clinical and pulmonary disorders), monitoring each attempt to escape from the so called “RED ZONE” throughout the employment of Police and the Army.

The ban to not trespass the borders of those cities is still addressed to every citizen.

Family over there are reliving the “Berlin Wall”. Members are forced to be separated and a lot of companies opted for “smart working” from home, in and outside the “Red Zone”.

Inside that specific area, supermarkets began to be literally mobbed by thousands of people who were scared and disoriented. They still don’t know how much will last.

Hospitals reported of increasing numbers of hospitalizations, mainly people over 80 years old.

As soon as the situation began to be critical inside those districts, all Italy woke up to a nightmare, especially the big cities. 

Fear pushed everyone to search frantically for accurate news. Weak-minded people are the most vulnerable, but everyone seems to be.. unprepared. The collective hysteria falls into every level of social life: bars had to be closed at 6:00 pm, schools are on lockdown, so are museums, churches, cinemas and theaters. 

Every “social” place appears to be something to stay away from. The news reported of frantic assaults to supermarkets: some are true, others completely fake. And we all know how powerful fear is.

Personally I found no issue in buying what I needed. 

Drugstores soon ran out of two items, becoming symbols of  COVID-19: masks and hand cleanser.

Italians are very physical when it comes to greetings. 

Well, I see no one shaking the hands. Anymore. Now people have to maintain 1 metre of distance between each other (3 feet). 


Is it safe here now?

A lot of tests have been accurately made in order to detect the breeding grounds of the virus. Three of them have been delineated, and right away contained with exceptional emergency measures. 

I have been quite often asked by overseas friends why the virus spread so quickly here. 

The answer is pretty simple, and far from being “nationalist”. 

Because over than 28,000 tests have been made.

Yes, you read it correctly. 28,000. This helped us to better understand the areas to avoid (two main clusters have been found), how it ran through people (infected individuals in turn infected some, not all! persons they approached), on which kind of people it appears to be more lethal. A woman infected gave birth to her child. The baby is not infected.

Some questions have found their -scientific- answers. Others have not.

People still read the news with anguish, as if they were war bulletins.

Trustable news reported the following statistics today:

1835 infected

927 of these are in quarantine inside their home, 742 are hospitalized.

52 total deaths, 139 recoveries.

At very least, let me explain why I named this article “Days of Silence”.

Because the total silence is what surely will remain stuck in my mind of these days. No laughs and yells of children, no one even listening to music. It’s like we are all holding our breath.

Kyt Lyn Walken

Kyt Lyn Walken is the official European representative and instructor for Hull's Tracking School (Virginia, USA), and is a certified Conservation Ranger for C.R.O.W. (Conservation Rangers Operations Worldwide). She has been an outdoors and tracking enthusiast since childhood. Kyt lives and works in Europe, and can be contacted at