top of page
  • Writer's pictureMarie Ohanesian Nardin

Friends Reaching Friends

Dear friends,

In these difficult times of #Coronavirus and #socialdistancing, I believe the best remedy is when friends reach out to friends. So I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me and my family members. Your emails, social network posts, phone calls and messages are deeply felt and appreciated.

It is no simple task facing the rampant spreading of this virus. As you know, we in Italy are under a nation wide lockdown. Which means we are staying at home, only going out to the grocery store or pharmacy, or taking the occasional walk in our surrounding countryside, keeping the required distance from others. Honestly, I've lost count of what day it is and what lockdown day we're on. And I miss hugging my daughters.

Still, we are all determined to do our part to stay healthy, prevent this from further spreading to the weaker members of society, and further overloading our hospitals, and health care workers who are our true heroes.

On this cold March morning, I woke up to eerily quiet streets to read how more and more areas outside of Italy are beginning to see schools close, public events be canceled, and longer lines at the supermarket, too. I've read that experts are saying that many parts of Europe and North America are about two weeks behind what Italy is now experiencing.

So, I hope the following list of day-to-day prevention techniques we in Italy are and have been following are helpful and comforting to you, too. This information is directly from the Italian Ministry of Health. The translation to English is mine. All I would add under surfaces and hygiene is a suggestion to disinfect everything and anything you or family members touch on a daily basis. Think about what we touch: car interiors, remote control devices, phones of all types, keyboards, computers, door handles, keys, light switches, are only a few.

I hope this helps.

And when you've finished reading these suggestions from the experts, and would like something to lighten the heart, have a look at how Italians are confronting lockdown:

Be well my friends.

What are the symptoms of a person with COVID-19?

The most common symptoms are fever, fatigue and dry cough. Some patients may experience soreness and muscle pain, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are generally mild and begin gradually. In severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

How is the new Coronavirus transmitted from person to person?

The new Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that mainly spreads through close contact with a sick person. The primary way is the breath droplets of infected people, for example through: • saliva, coughing and sneezing • direct personal contacts • your hands, for example by touching your mouth, nose or eyes with contaminated (not yet washed) hands. In rare cases, infection can occur through fecal contamination.

Normally respiratory diseases are not transmitted with food, which in any case must be handled respecting good hygiene practices and avoiding contact between raw and cooked food.

Surfaces and hygiene

How does the new Coronavirus spread?

The new coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads mainly through contact with the breath droplets of infected people, for example when they sneeze or cough or blow their nose. It is therefore important that sick people apply hygiene measures such as sneezing or coughing in a handkerchief or with their elbows flexed and throwing used tissues in a closed basket immediately after use and washing hands frequently with soap and water or using alcoholic solutions.

What are the rules for hand disinfection / washing?

Hand washing and disinfection are the key to preventing infection. You should wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 60 seconds. If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (alcohol concentration of at least 60%) can also be used.

How long does the new Coronavirus survive on surfaces?

Preliminary information suggests that the virus may survive several hours, even if that is still under study. The use of simple disinfectants is able to kill the virus by canceling its ability to infect people, for example disinfectants containing 75% alcohol (ethanol) or 1% chlorine-based (bleach).

What can I do to protect myself?

Stay informed on the spread of the epidemic, available on the WHO website and on the ministry website and adopt the following personal protection measures:

• stay at home, leave home only for work needs, health reasons and food needs

• wash your hands often. It is recommended to make hydroalcoholic solutions for hand washing available in all public places such as supermarkets, pharmacies and other meeting places;

• avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;

• avoid hugs and handshakes;

• maintaining, in social contacts, an interpersonal distance of at least one meter;

• respiratory hygiene (sneezing and / or coughing in a handkerchief avoiding hand contact with respiratory secretions);

• avoid the shared use of bottles and glasses, especially during sports activities;

• do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands;

• cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough;

• do not take antiviral drugs and antibiotics, unless they are prescribed by your doctor;

• clean the surfaces with chlorine or alcohol based disinfectants;

• use a mask only if you suspect you are sick or if you are assisting sick people.

If you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulty and suspect you have been in close contact with a person with Covid-19 respiratory disease:

• stay at home, do not go to the emergency room or medical offices but call your family doctor, pediatrician or medical guard on the phone. Use the emergency numbers only if strictly necessary.

181 views2 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Marie Ohanesian Nardin
Marie Ohanesian Nardin
Mar 15, 2020

Hi, Beth. Thank you for leaving a comment. Dyane had told me you were here then. I am glad you are home in the States now. Things are indeed stressful here. But as you said, the Italian spirit, and I'll add the transparent leadership of the government and sound capabilities of our healthcare system make us feel somewhat calmer and well protected. This will take some time to pass around the globe. In the meantime, we need to be positive, wise, and considerate of ourselves and our neighbors. Be well.


Mar 14, 2020

Thank you Marie. I am a friend of your cousin, Dyane. My husband, Enzo (La Collina) has his family in the Veneto area...Prammaggiore. We were there the end of February, so we got a taste of what was yet to come. It was scary, but the beautiful spirit of the Italian people always prevails. I wish you, Roberto and the rest of your family the very best. And I hope that we, Americans, will take the lead of the Italians. Best wishes, Beth

bottom of page