East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai



So, we got a suspect Coronavirus case in our region, and Piedmont is locking up with a “preventive quarantine”, while the population is panicking. Here in Astigianistans, schools will be closed until the 2nd of March, and the same apparently will be true for museums, cinemas and theatres all over the region.
And we don’t know what next.

A few of my contacts talk about supermarkets being either empty, or being assaulted by shoppers eager to stock up before they lock themselves up in their homes.

And yesterday in a bar in Asti I heard a guy say “the only way to handle this” is to barricade ourselves up in our farmhouses, and shoot on sight anyone that comes closer.

Ten years ago, the N1H1 scare had a hundred times less impact, while being a lot more dangerous than Coronavirus.
But back then we did not have political propaganda to whip up panic and meaningless (and frankly racist) reactions all over.
Like, deserting Chinese restaurants or anything vaguely oriental – including “that supermarket where a lot of foreigners go”.
Or, really, seriously advocating shooting on sight of potential zombies, with a straight face, in a public place, while the people around you nod and say they’ll check their shotguns.

So, now the question is… what would a writer do, in such a situation?
OK, order a pizza for dinner, but then, what else…?
Ah! Watch this space for news…

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

14 thoughts on “Quarantined

  1. If you want to write a novel about the worst side of humanity, you have all the ingredients.
    I just hope they are part of a minority, but fear often compels people to do worst choices.


  2. We too in Emilia Romagna. Schools, museums, theaters, associations, etc.
    mah …


  3. What would a writer do? Write a story about fear maybe, or the mob mentality, or fear triggering a mob mentality.


  4. “Ten years ago, the N1H1 scare had a hundred times less impact, while being a lot more dangerous than Coronavirus.”

    Not actually correct. At this point the mortality rates are actually about the same, approx. 4% max. The problem is the incubation period. For Swine Flu H1N1 it was 2-7 days, for Corona it’s up to 14 days. The longer someone walks around with ability to infect other people before they present symptoms themselves, the more people get infected. And 4% of 2 to 3 million infections is going to produce more corpses than 1 million infected.

    The longer the incubation period is what’s got the medical profession worried.

    On the other hand I haven’t slowed down ordering takeout from my local Chinese restaurant either, but then again I’ve always been more than a touch fatalistic. LOL!!!

    Good luck in the hills of Astiganistan! 😉


  5. I hope all goes well with quarantine situations, and I hope fears of the virus will disappear soon.


  6. Eerie but very familiar conversations you witnessed there, Davide. The alt-righters are eagerly pushing the envelope planetwide, getting cockier and scarier with each news cycle.
    Your take on the actual situation hits the mark. Writers of fiction do a far better job at getting the dynamic closer to truth. As always, thanks for your words — and worlds.


  7. I still wonder about the combined powers of ignorance and fear. Covid-19 is dangerous for many, no doubts about it, but it’s nearly impossible to stop its diffusion and we can do is to buy time to get more organized to face it. Two different kinds of therapies are ongoing, science will find an answer to this problem. In the meantime, it’s useful to remind that 95% of the contaminated will heal in a matter of a few days.
    Panic is our worst enemy. The idea of stockpile resources and hide somewhere come right out of fear.


    • My brother suffers from asthma, and therefore he is in the risk group – not as bad as someone having immune system problems, but worth keeping an eye out for.
      So we monitor the news and wait for a vaccine. But getting a shotgun and 500 pounds of sugar and spaghetti (I’ve seen people running out of supermarkets with trolleys loaded in sugar and pasta) is silly.
      This is not Resident Evil – although I’d welcome Milla Jovovich for dinner and some conversation, were she to pass by.

      Liked by 1 person

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