Woman in Italy Posts Coronavirus Warning: "Change Your Behavior Today"
Christina Higgins of Bergamo, Italy, says American media is downplaying the severity of coronavirus.
Public opinion on how seriously we should be taking coronavirus is divided. While some are treating the virus like a full-on pandemic, others feel like we're blowing what's essentially just a cold or flu way out of proportion. Now, a viral Facebook post from a woman in Italy—which has been put on lockdown—is warning those in other European countries and in the U.S. to take coronavirus more seriously.
On Mar. 10, Christina Higgins wrote a Facebook post from Bergamo, Italy—"the heart of the coronavirus crisis"—saying that the "news media in the U.S. has not captured the severity of what is happening."
"I am writing this post because each of you, today—not the government, not the school district, not the mayor—each individual citizen has the chance, today to take actions that will deter the Italian situation from becoming your own country's reality," she wrote. "The only way to stop this virus is to limit contagion. And the only way to limit contagion is for millions of people to change their behavior today."
Higgins dispelled the idea that coronavirus is, as some say, a "flu" that only affects elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions. Firstly, she wrote, coronavirus has caused people to get "really sick," spending weeks in ICU wards, which are now surpassing capacity. She also noted that the hospitals were reporting more and more younger people coming in. Secondly, Higgins wrote, the virus' two-week incubation period means that people who have it may never show symptoms, which is one of the reasons it's spreading so fast.
She referred to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's decision to put Italy on lockdown on Monday night as a "Hail Mary," saying that "if the numbers of contagion do not start to go down, the system, Italy, will collapse."
Higgins ended the post by telling people that they have the "chance to make a difference" and "stop the spread" of coronavirus in their country by taking measures like working from home, pushing for schools to close, and canceling all non-essential events.
Her final message for anyone who thinks these actions might be too extreme? "Locking down Italy was beyond anyone's imagination a week ago. Soon you will not have a choice, so do what you can now."
Her Facebook post quickly went viral, with more than 84,000 shares in less than 24 hours.
Higgins followed up by posting a video of a BBC news segment on Facebook that describes the extent to which coronavirus has hit Italy.
According to the latest reports from the BBC, there have been more than 10,000 cases and 631 deaths from coronavirus in Italy.
"We want all of our citizens to stay at home. We want all business activity to stop, all shops to close for two weeks," Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori said in the segment. "We think this is the only way to really stop the spread of the virus and to avoid the collapse of the healthcare system."
Finally, he cautioned the U.S. and other European countries, "You need to be much more rigorous."