The coronavirus crisis in Italy is bringing out some heart-warming examples of social solidarity, with many Italians taking to their balconies in recent days to sing and dance in unison in an effort to raise morale.
In various videos posted to social media, neighborhood voices can be heard ringing out over deserted streets in multiple cities as the country continues its lockdown.
In one case, the “Macarena” was played from one home as residents danced on their balconies. In others, people brought out musical instruments or simply banged on saucepans as they sang patriotic songs.
The show of communal optimism was apparently the result of an initiative born on social media. Italians were being encouraged to repeat the initiative on Saturday evening.
Earlier on Saturday they responded to another call on social media to applaud at their windows in appreciation of health workers fighting the disease.
For its part, the Basilica of Santa Maria in Trastevere will be ringing its bells in the evening, along with all the other churches in the quarter “in an expression of affinity, solidarity and prayer” with all those affected by the virus.
ITALIANS DANCING TO MACARENA IN THEIR BALCONIES BECAUSE WE HAVE TO STAY AT HOME IM CRYINGGGG I LOVE MY PEOPLE pic.twitter.com/CEIN98Syzc
— dario (@imnewyorkcity) March 13, 2020
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illnesses may take three to six weeks to recover.
Italy is the worst-hit European country, with a total of over 17,600 confirmed cases — the largest outbreak after China — with 1,266 deaths.
The government in Rome has ordered an unprecedented lockdown, ordering businesses to close and restricting people’s movement.
Mayors of many Italian cities, including Rome and Milan, decided to close public playgrounds and parks. Under a government decree issued earlier in the week, people had been allowed in parks as long as they kept at least a distance of 1 meter between each other.
While limiting public life to a minimum, Premier Giuseppe Conte has said production — particularly of food and health supplies — must not stop. On Saturday morning, union and industrial leaders reached an agreement on special measures to keep factories running.