We can now speak, unfortunately, of Covid-19 as a pandemic. Coronavirus is spreading wildly across the Earth, with cases in 114 different countries around the globe. By now everyone, hopefully, is aware of the seriousness of this emergency. Below is a video of the epidemiologist at the head of the epidemiology department of a medical faculty of the Western Ontario university, Saverio Stranges. He confesses that, immediately, he felt personally involved, as an Italian. And that now that the situation has worsened, he feels physically in Canada but mentally and professionally in Italy, alongside friends, relatives and colleagues.
From individual to collective risk
Dr. Saverio Stranges is convinced that we will get through this. But to make this happen, as quickly as possible, each of us must be more serious and responsible than ever. Each of us must review our lifestyle and habits. But above all, each of us must stop thinking in terms of individual risk and begin to think in terms of social and collective risk. “We’ll get through this – he reiterates – but only if all individuals unite in the struggle for the containment of this Covid-19 pandemic.” But he does not deny that the biggest challenge that Italy is facing, the same that other countries in which the virus is spreading will face, is the collapse of health systems.
“Several people still think in terms of individual risk, “What happens to me?”. Well, in order tocontain the emergency, we must think in terms of collective risk: “What happens to the community, if the number of infected people increases, of which a certain percentage, even a low percentage, will need intensive care?”. The epidemiologist from Campania, who emigrated to Canada, reminds us once again that intensive care units, in Italy and elsewhere, are not only for patients who have contracted Covid-19 but there are many people with chronic desease that need constant care. So let’s act now. “This is a challenge that requires an individual effort by each of us as an integral part of a community. And we all have to stick to the instructions of the authorities. It is not just an Italian problem, it is a global issue”.
Covid-19 pandemic: hope for a better society
“Our country is implementing one of the biggest public health interventions in recent decades. Isolating 60 million people is something that has never been done in a western country, at least not in my lifetime”. Italy, therefore, the first western country affected by this Covid-19 pandemic, could become a model for all other Countries in the world. In fact, this problem is growing in North America and can also grow in other countries. And the only thing to do to appease Coronavirus advance is to remain calm and be extremely responsible. It caught us off guard. “Most people have compared this to a state of war, and in some ways it is. Maybe our generation has not experienced such an emergency before. Aside from, perhaps, the earthquake of the early 1980s that anyone like me from southern Italy will remember.
I hope that event gave us resilience to resist this pandemic.” The epidemiology expert is convinced that we will overcome this too, as we have done in the past with other pandemics. However, we still need to be patient because it will take weeks or maybe months. But it will be all right! “We take this as an opportunity to review our values of life, our priorities, even certain false idolatries. I hope this historic moment can generate a better, more humane and supportive society, in which public health, the common good, are also put as a priority in terms of funding.”