The madness of crowds


The madness of crowds

Friday, March 6th, 2020

A few interesting observations about the situation in Italy and the U.S. in the face of the coronavirus. As of this writing Italy has the third highest number of cases of people infected.

The latest numbers of those infected:

__________Infected / Population (millions

  • China ——–80,555/ 1,439
  • S. Korea——-6,593/ 51
  • Italy————3,858/ 60
  • USA ————– 233/ 331

Obviously the top 3 (and Iran is a close 4th) have reason to be quite concerned. But where does there seem to be the most hysteria? The good old USA. I live in Bologna in the region of Emilia Romagna which has the second highest number of cases after Lombaria where Milano is the best known city. In my region there are 698 cases with over half of those in a city close to Lombardia and close to the towns at the epicenter of infections in Italy. In Bologna there are 19 cases and Bologna is a city of 390,000, a bit smaller than Oakland at 425,000.

Here people are being prudent, avoiding large crowds, washing hands, going out to dinner less, etc. Government regulations are similar, no events with large groups of people, schools closed for the same reason. All of the things that are advised, but I don’t see a lot of panic. Less people at the gym when I go there in the morning, which I like.

In Oakland, one, yes one, case was identified yesterday. And people are also being more than prudent; I would say hysterical. They have cleared the shelves of hand sanitizer and are probably hoarding food as if the apocalypse is approaching. I had a trip planned to Oakland for various reasons but primarily to do some arrangements to sell my house and bring a few remaining stored things to Italy. I had bought the ticket to be there for 10 days. Fortunately I have great realtor and it is possible to do everything remotely but it does require a couple of notarized documents which I had planned to do as soon as I arrive. Now I was advised by my realtor to consider canceling the trip. And why? Because if I went to the house which will be empty by that time, they will have to disclose that I came from Italy and was in the house and it may affect the sale. Add to that the possibility that I could be detained at the airport for some time for testing and even quarantined and it just does not make sense at this point. Not worth the risk of all of the negatives. So now I am planning a trip to the consulate in Rome to get the documents notarized and then Fedex the originals to my realtor in California.

However I am truly amazed at the hysteria in the U.S. My flight is with Lufthansa so now I hope that the U.S. gets even crazier in the next week or two (like maybe 500 case of infection in the entire USA). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wish harm for anyone here or there. But if that happens perhaps they will prohibit entry from Italy so that Lufthansa will probably be forced to allow rescheduling or cancellation of my flight without the usual ridiculous fees. Otherwise I’ll probably just swallow the $800 loss and buy a new ticket when sanity prevails. Meanwhile I will leave it to my realtor to store the few things that are still in storage at the house until I can return for them as well as see friends on what is likely to be my last trip to Oakland except perhaps as a brief stop on a tourist visit to the U.S.

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