What color is your state?

What color is your state?

Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

That seems like an odd question – at least in the U.S. it would be strange unless related to politics, i.e. red state or blue state. Here it refers to the state of Covid in the various regions (equivalent of states) and sometimes the zones can include not the entire region but the province (like a county in most of the U.S.) or even a city. There are 20 regions in Italy and I live in Emilia-Romagna in the city and province of Bologna.

So the colors are white, yellow, orange and red. As they progress from white to red they indicate the level of Covid risk and consequently the restrictions on daily life that are in place. The risk is the measure of the infection rate a number called the Rt index. If it is over 1 it indicates that each infected person is on average infecting more than one other person. Obviously if that number is high then you have a rapid spread of infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The only way to combat that spread of infections (until we’re all vaccinated) is to limit the exposure from one person to another. For example if you are in a red zone (and Bologna right now is red) there is no restaurant dining indoors in any form. You can get take-out food up until 10 in the evening. The same goes for bars (the name for coffee shops here). You basically cannot go anywhere far from your home and visits with friends and family are severely limited both in number and frequency. Schools are closed as well as any non-essential business are closed. Obviously there are some exceptions but they are few. On the other end of the spectrum, white, just about everything is open. Only Sardinia is a white region. Of course masks are still obligatory just about everywhere. Unlike what seems to be the case in the U.S. there are penalties for not following the rules. “Freedom” does not mean that you can act irresponsibly and be a menace to your fellow citizens. You can get a pretty hefty ticket here for violating the rules.

So we are all bored but we eat well here at the house of Joe and Laura (I’m making some great chocolate chip cookies). Cooking is a good answer to boredom and thank goodness for the internet and especially streaming video. I only go out for food shopping. Even though the number of people allowed in a supermarket and other stores is limited I always go as soon as the stores open to avoid crowds. I take the garbage and recycling out on early Sunday morning when there is rarely anyone else moving about.

There is always a risk any time that you are near someone else. My good friend Gianluca has been careful but found last week that he was infected. Fortunately his symptoms are relatively mild but he cannot leave his apartment for (I think) 3 weeks. He has doctors that check in with him every 2 or 3 days and fortunately he has family members who don’t live very far away that have brought him food and other essentials.

The vaccine rollout is relatively slow here. I don’t know why we are so far behind the U.S. in getting people vaccinated but it seems to be a supply issue. Right now they are vaccinating essential workers, those at high risk and those over 80 and I’m hoping for my first vaccine shot in early April but don’t really know when that will be. I’m SO envious when I hear from friends in the U.S. that have already been vaccinated.

So I can just dream about a relatively normal life and have enough confidence in the state of things that I have already bought a plane ticket to make a fairly brief trip back to California in September.

And a pair of Baci quotes:

True happiness comes from the zest of creating new things.
La vera felicita’ deriva dall’entusiasmo di creare cose nuove.

Antoinde de Sainet-Exupery

Magic is believing in yourself.
La magia e’ credere in se stesso. (it was “noi stessi”)

Wofgang Goethe

Stay safe – it’s not a long wait now.

2 Responses to “What color is your state?”

  1. Peter Hillen Says:

    Hi Joe, Ann and I got our first shot and will get our second next week. We are already feeling “empowered” and had a drink at an outdoor restaurant. We got our shot(s) at Stanford. We are members of Sutter, but they don’t seem to have much of a supply. CVS and Riteaid have started recently This comes at a good time because it looks like Scott will be going back to some classes at SJSU soon. Our Prius is 14yrs old and has 145K miles, so we bought our “end of life” car.. a Tesla Model Y. Haven’t received it yet.

  2. Joe Says:

    Geez, Peter, I forgot about this comment but I think that we talked via Whatsapp since you left the comment.


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