Perspectives from Italy – Life in The Time of Coronavirus

As an Italian who is experiencing a very delicate situation, I would like to send a message to those who have not (yet) experienced a situation like this which, unfortunately, must be expected, will also spread to other countries, as the first data are telling us.

Borders become walls. The red areas become real. We work smart, we worry about those who can’t.

The coronavirus emergency is reality, and the truth is that it finds us psychologically unprepared:

It touches deep roots and our most basic needs such as our need for health, safety, and protection, but also for sharing and trust. We find ourselves unprepared because we have never experienced similar scenarios, and leaves us with a sense of unreality, as if it were all strange and unreal, activating a series of denial or panic attitudes for survival.

Hence the opposite behavior: teenagers who continue to gather in the park as if nothing had happened, until the supermarket shelves are emptied. But it is time to go beyond survival attitudes and implement suitable and adequate behaviors to act also for the common good.

This story tells us how our fears rest in each of us on some fear and many resources. For some, fear is a spatial problem, that is, for those who fear being stuck in situations with no way out. For others, fear is doing something that harms others and then feeling guilty. For still others, it is the fear of not being able to see the affections of others and of being alone, or on the contrary, crushed in some situation seen as a cage from which to escape by taking a plane.

The situation we are experiencing also stresses our limits and personal fears but it must be remembered that it is a temporary and transitory condition, which will last much less the more each of us will privilege the common good and not their own selfishness.


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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  1. Thank you for this piece, Aldo! It is a concerning time, and you are right in that it will pass. But at the moment, fears, anxieties, and panic ramp up. Each is dealing with the crisis in their way. I pray that we find ways to minimize the effects on many levels. It is a time for us to unite, be kind, and look out for others.
    I wish you well, Aldo, and will keep you in my thoughts.

  2. Great insights Aldo, I couldn’t agree more. I too am in Southern Italy and there’s no where else I’d rather be than with my companion……especially after watching the behaviors around the world.

    Leaders need to come together, its not an each to his own attitude. United we stand, divided we fall….

    I believe more countries will be following Italy’s lead in the coming days/weeks.

    As for traveling right now, I would not take the risk even if it meant that I would be stuck in the heart of this country during a pandemic.

    I’m certainly safer here than in a crowded airport with thousands of other people….and as the authorities here have told me “This is Italy, we will find a way.” And I’m confident everything will work out.

    Forza Italia and the rest of the world. This country is definitely showing the world what caring about others is all about.

    Stay well, best regards.

  3. Thank you, Aldo, for sharing your perspective. There are no words to describe what you are experiencing in Italy. We are living n very scary times. There is so much information but who is reliable and who is not. Prayer is a must!

  4. Life will go on and this too shall pass. We need to be kind in our thoughts and actions, protection as needed but it disturbs me to see the hording going on throughout as a sign of selfisness, greed, but I understand at the same time peoples emotions. I trust in God and I know things will smooth out. Our Parish has canclled the trip to Rome, hopefully the Travel Agency will refund all expenses according to it guidlines, but this too shall pass

    • Of course, this too will pass.
      But today in Italy we have exhausted doctors and nurses, there are no places for intensive care, the stocks of equipment for doctors and nurses who work 24 hours a day are running out. In this situation, if the growth curve of infected people will not begin to to decrease in some area those who enter the hospital do not have reasonable expectations of recovery.
      In this situation, each of us can make a difference in various ways. Only this is the awareness that must guide us!
      Thanks for your intervention.

  5. Hi Aldo! So happy to hear from you and glad you are well. For some time my guidance has shown me this coming, but I hardly could imagine what it would look like. This is going to be a challenging time but also the greatest opportunity to change the way we see the world. There is a silver lining for those who step out of fear and observe what is being exposed here. We are seeing how connected that we really are and the lacks in our social systems. Greed and materialism is being exposed. A sense of community and what we truly value can now come to the surface as we are forced to slow life down. We can help by being responsible, staying positive and envisioning and acting as a better humanity. Thanks for sharing

  6. Thank you for this, Aldo! I will continue my mantra of optimism, practicality, and caution. As someone who has always washed their hands, I now do so with vigor and probably over 20 seconds. Result? I now have red, raw hands, and I will take it as I go about my business and not fall prey to the hysteria unfolding in the United States. Best of luck to you! Stay safe!💖

  7. Bravo!!! Thank you for this piece Aldo. The super markets here are bare and schools are closed. I’m acting like it’s all going to be okay – because it is. Eventually. And my children need to see normal. They need to feel no panic. They need to learn how to handle this type of situation. We’ll have safe-as-can-be play dates. And play in our yard for hours. We’ll bake cookies and bread. We’ll spend quality time together. I want them to know there is a virus out there – so when we play doctor with the dollies we talk about testing them for COVID19. But we won’t fear it. It’s one of the many cycles we’ll be exposed to.

    I pray you stay safe and am grateful for your perspective.

  8. Thanks for the perspective, Aldo. The question that has been running around my head is, “Will this emergency put a dent in our sense of entitlement?” It feels like we’ve become a world where every border, every rule is openly challenged. There’s good and bad there – we should challenge rules, but at some point, we comply or leave – otherwise we risk the health and safety of others. That seems to be the part we’ve lost – concern for the health and safety of others.

    But alas, I thought 911 would be a wake-up call. I suspect this lesson will be equally forgotten quickly once the emergency is over.

    • It is a serious problem. The virus is transmitted quickly. It is sufficient to be close to an infected but perhaps asymptomatic person and therefore neither of them is aware of what is happening.
      Beyond the capabilities of the healthcare system (and no one doubts, it seems to me, the Italian one), the only thing really useful for determining a concrete reversal to the growth of the contagion curve is isolation. And this is transforming life habits in various ways.
      It is not, as Laurie Hill says, to be anxious or not. It’s about being lucid.

    • As they say, a virus of this kind was not known and unfortunately we can not help but fight it by collaborating all. Fortunately, today we have the technology that allows us to work on a global level and if we do not give rise to national egoisms, the last ones who will be involved will, hopefully, can count on the experience of others.
      It is on this that humanity should work, above all for aspects of health and safety as you say: globalization must not be more profits for the few but well-being, health and safety for all.
      Maybe mine is a utopia. But these lessons should make the majority think.

  9. We need this kind of level thinking Aldo. Seriously, I’m just not the type to get anxious. Maybe I should be. We have thousands of Asians working in Saudi, going to and from their countries…. We have lots of Asian nurses too.
    I haven’t made any change to my routine. I stay away from hospitals at all costs, both literally and figuratively. haha and, I have not stocked up on any items in consideration of Coronavirus.