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La pandemia de la covid-19 no solo ha provocado una crisis económica de vastas proporciones y un aumento general de las desigualdades y de la pobreza a escala mundial. Está originando asimismo una enorme crisis educativa. 1.650 millones de niños y adolescentes del mundo siguen sin acudir a sus centros escolares, confinados en sus casas, o con movilidad y trato social muy limitados. En todo el mundo, pediatras, psicólogos, educadores han expresado su seria preocupación acerca de los efectos en el desarrollo cognitivo y emocional —para todos los niños y adolescentes, pero en particular para aquellos que ya se hallaban en condiciones más desfavorecidas— del aislamiento dentro de los muros de hogar y de la dependencia exclusiva de sus familiares más próximos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Covid-19. Una corona. ¿Y tal vez nos aguarde otro coronavirus dentro de poco tiempo? ¿Es posible que hayamos comenzado la Tercera Guerra Mundial? Una guerra biológica, ecológica, química. Al fin y al cabo, muchos piensan que el coronavirus es un producto de laboratorio. ¿Quién lo ha creado? Quizá las palabras recientes de Mike Pompeo sean útiles en medio de toda la desinformación que circula. ¿Cuáles son hoy las potencias mundiales? Rusia y China. Y eso ya es significativo. Tal como están las cosas, China ha vencido en esta guerra relámpago, no solo biológica y química sino también social, que está modificando nuestros comportamientos y suscitando el miedo, la discriminación, la agresividad, la disociación de lo social.…  Seguir leyendo »

Coffins are taken away in military vehicles, Ponte San Pietro, near Bergamo, 3 April 2020. Photograph: Filippo Venezia/EPA

Lombardy is one of the richest and most productive regions in Italy and Bergamo is its beating heart. It is also my home town: the city where I spent my childhood and adolescence. The province’s million inhabitants are characterised by a strong sense of belonging: to region and to family. They take pride too in a no-nonsense, practical approach to life and a powerful work ethic.

Today, Bergamo holds the European record that no town wants: it is the place where the coronavirus pandemic has cast its darkest shadow. Bergamo is a lazaretto of pain, where the priority of hospital managers is to select only the patients they think will survive.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police at a roadblock to enforce the coronavirus emergency lockdown in Rome on March 28. (Fabio Frustaci/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

In a WhatsApp audio recording, a hoarse voice in a Sicilian accent said: “Cover up — and if we have to respond [to the police], we will smash [them] to smithereens. … They’ll beg for mercy.”

Another replied: “If they send 10 anti-riot police trucks, do you really think they could stop us? Aren’t we all armed with batons and clubs against them?”

The conversation between unnamed small-time Mafia members was shared with reporters by undercover police the last weekend in March in Palermo, Sicily’s capital. The same weekend, marauders raided supermarkets in Palermo and Naples. Police have since been sent as security guards at numerous establishments in both cities.…  Seguir leyendo »

Photo by SERGIO PESCI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock. Italian army trucks are loaded with coffins to be transported to a crematorium. (Sergio Pesci/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

On Thursday, European Union leaders are holding a videoconference to plan their fight against the new coronavirus. They will also probably discuss the economic consequences of the pandemic. A group of nine member states have proposed that the European Union borrow money to finance the fight against coronavirus by issuing joint “coronabonds,” a move opposed by Germany and the Netherlands.

This decision will be made against the backdrop of a looming fiscal crisis in one of the E.U.’s founding members, and its third-largest economy. Italy was already in a financially precarious position before the pandemic. Its government has run a budget account surplus excluding interest payments (spending less money than it brings in), in 19 of the last 20 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hemos sido la generación más afortunada de la historia de la humanidad. Nacidos en la maravillosa península italiana, reclinada sobre un mar “bueno” en medio del periodo de paz más largo y de mayor bienestar del que jamás ha disfrutado el Occidente europeo, hemos sido la jeunesse dorée de la historia universal. Ahora, al entrar en la edad que debería otorgarnos la madurez, una vez alcanzado el “punto más alto” de nuestra existencia, nos vemos llamados a la prueba. ¿Estaremos a la altura?

Para aclarar a qué me refiero, no estoy hablando de la felicidad. Es posible que otras generaciones, más atormentadas, menos prósperas, más desesperadamente vitales que la nuestra, también hayan sido más felices.…  Seguir leyendo »

El Pirellone, un edificio icónico en Milán, se iluminó con el mensaje "Quédate en casa"

Mientras las infecciones por el coronavirus en Italia rebasaban los 400 casos y las muertes llegaban a las decenas, el líder del gobernante Partido Demócrata publicó una fotografía en la que brindaba por “un aperitivo en Milán”, e invitaba a la gente a “no cambiar nuestros hábitos”.

Eso fue el 27 de febrero. Menos de 10 días después, cuando el conteo llegó a 5883 infecciones y 233 muertes, el jefe del partido, Nicola Zingaretti, publicó un nuevo video, esta vez para informarle a Italia que él también tenía el virus.

Ahora Italia tiene más de 53.000 infecciones registradas y más de 4800 muertes, y el ritmo de contagio se sigue acelerando, pues más de la mitad de los casos y fallecimientos se registraron la semana pasada.…  Seguir leyendo »

A delivery rider in Genoa, Italy, 19 March 2020: ‘Uniting against the pandemic in a show of spontaneous patriotism ultimately makes the nation more cohesive.’ Photograph: Luca Zennaro/EPA

Last week, Italy became the first European country to go into complete lockdown to protect its citizens from a pandemic attack. Previously, such a scenario was just an academic hypothesis for national security experts. Now what Italy is doing can become a model for other countries threatened by the same enemy: coronavirus.

Italy remains under attack, as shown by the rising number of infections and deaths, and the battle against the virus is full of unknowns, but there are three aspects of the current emergency that already contain unequivocal lessons.

The first concerns national security. The pandemic caught Italy by surprise, almost like a large-scale terror attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

People wearing protective face masks walk in the Borgo Pio district in Rome on Tuesday. (Angelo Carconi/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

On March 9, 2020, Italy’s government ordered the entire country into lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. No one is allowed outside except briefly, for exercise, groceries, or medicine. In northern Italy, which has been hardest hit, movement has been restricted for a couple of days longer; a few virus hotspots have been restricted for a little over three weeks. The first infection was detected among tourists at the end of January; the first Italian case was diagnosed on Feb. 21. As of March 16, just under 138,000 people have been tested in Italy, 23,000 are currently infected with the virus, 2,750 are believed to have recovered from an infection, and just over 2,150 have died.…  Seguir leyendo »

Maria Teresa Baldini of the far-right Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party wears a protective mask and gloves inside parliament after Italy’s lockdown. Photograph: Remo Casilli/Reuters

If the coronavirus pandemic is fuelling any political hope, it is that this crisis is a robust nail in the coffin of populist politics. Surely, some argue, in the face of an entirely indiscriminate, unforeseen and formidable plague, for which no one can be blamed (unlike, say, greedy bankers and unscrupulous lenders in the global financial crisis, or the terrorists of 9/11) people will turn to the truth, to science and to expert-led government.

And, true, populist leaders seem to have lost their voice, for now: the attempts to blame migrants, porous borders and the forces of globalisation for the coronavirus have received short shrift.…  Seguir leyendo »

Outside a Milanese clinic, once a military hospital, where some of the first Italians infected with Covid-19 were treated. Credit Andrea Fasani/EPA, via Shutterstock

None of us have ever experienced a tragedy like it.

We know how to respond to road accidents, train derailments, even earthquakes. But a virus that has killed so many, which gets worse with each passing day and for which a cure — or even containment — seems distant? No.

We always think of calamity as something that will happen far from us, to others far away, in another part of the world. It’s a kind of superstition. But not this time. This time it happened here, to us — to our loved ones, our neighbors, our colleagues.

I’m an anesthesiologist at the Policlinico San Donato here in Milan, which is part of the Lombardy region, the heart of the Italian coronavirus outbreak.…  Seguir leyendo »

Before the virus came, I was living in my usual, hectic way, going back and forth from Milan to Rome for work. As such, I turned a blind eye to the worrying news coming from China. Even the onset of contagion in the Codogno area near Milan was, to me, just another news story.

So when the virus came close, I was surprised to discover that hard choices had to be made — and fast. The first: Where do we wait this out? Do I stay in Rome, where I live and work, or go back to the little village outside of Milan where my aging parents live?…  Seguir leyendo »

The coronavirus pandemic may claim an unexpected victim: a united euro zone. And if it does, Italy will have done much of the work.

The country has essentially shuttered its economy to fight its enormous health crisis. All retail establishments — restaurants, shops and entertainment — are closed throughout the entire country except for essential stores like groceries and pharmacies. Effectively, millions of Italians are out of work.

These actions would shock any economy. But Italy’s economy is already weak, and has been for decades. Its gross domestic product has barely grown over the past 20 years. Its unemployment rate, at 9.8 percent, is one of the highest in Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

The nearly deserted Piazza di Spagna in central Rome on Thursday, as Italy shut all stores except for pharmacies and food shops in a desperate bid to halt the spread of a coronavirus. (Alberto Pizzoli/Afp Via Getty Images)

Last Saturday night, I watched in surprise and horror as the television broadcast images of hundreds of people storming Milan’s central train station, desperate to catch a train out of the city after rumors circulated of the coming of a quarantine over coronavirus concerns in Italy’s north. Hours later, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a partial closure of the region, centered on Milan.

Then, the next day, the restrictions arrived at my doorstep, as Conte decreed limits on travel nationwide.

A thought crossed my mind: Is it time to panic? And soon, will this become a reality not just here but everywhere?…  Seguir leyendo »

Claudio Furlan/LaPresse, via Associated Press

You glance at the headlines, just before going to bed on a Saturday evening, to discover your town has been put in lockdown. Or is about to be. It’s not clear. Apparently, the order hasn’t been signed yet. Social media shows people rushing to the station, mainly for the last trains south. This is Milan, economic dynamo of Italy, the only city in the country that has grown stronger and richer through the long years of stagnation since the financial crisis of 2008. An enormous number of people who work here are from the south. If the city is shutting down for the coronavirus, they want to be home.…  Seguir leyendo »

El norte de Italia actualmente es el centro del brote de COVID-19 en Europa. Hasta el momento, 17 italianos han muerto como resultado del nuevo coronavirus, y 650 han sido infectados. Las escuelas en la región han cerrado, las universidades han suspendido las clases, las empresas le han pedido a su personal que trabajara desde casa y muchos teatros, cines y bares han cerrado sus puertas. El virus causó la cancelación de los dos últimos días del Carnaval de Venecia, que atrae a miles de visitantes cada año. Y la zona sur de Milán, donde se reportaron los primeros casos de COVID-19 de Italia, está en cuarentena.…  Seguir leyendo »