coronavirus

Italians issue COVID-19 warning to world: “Much worse than you thought”

Italians issue COVID-19 warning to world: "Much worse than you thought"

ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images(ROME) — Italy is one of the biggest COVID-19 hotspots in the world, documenting over 35,700 confirmed cases and 3,405 deaths as of Thursday afternoon.  That’s 275 more deaths than in China, which has a world-leading 81,155 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, nearly twice as many as second-place Italy has, according to Johns Hopkins University.

With Italy under lockdown, Italians are finding ways to get one simple message across to the world: don’t underestimate this virus.

Freelance filmmaker Olmo Parenti challenged his fellow Italians to warn other countries and to record a message to their past self from 10 days ago.  And they responded to in droves.

“Up until nine, 10 days ago, we were behaving the same way.  We were going outside saying, ‘It’s just a flu. We get it … why should we worry?'” said Parenti, who lives in Milan.  “But the thing is, we didn’t realize how little we know.  We make assumptions that not only put us in danger, but others in danger.” 

Parenti hopes the hundreds of messages will inspire countries like the U.S., England and France heed their warnings and take the pandemic more seriously.  

One submitted message has a woman named Paola Costa cautioning, “What is happening is much worse than you thought it was.  You’ll realize that even just being able to breathe air in your own house, it’s something you should already be grateful for.”

Currently, COVID-19 has affected all 50 states in the U.S. and infected 10,755 individuals as of Thursday afternoon, with 154 confirmed U.S. deaths.

Globally, there are 235,404 diagnosed cases and 9,785 confirmed deaths as of Thursday afternoon, resulting in worldwide travel restrictions, the closure of boarders and various lockdowns in countries or major cities.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.