MILAN, March 2020—Today the news announced that the Carabinieri, the Italian military police, would be patrolling the streets and giving fines to anyone who didn’t have an essential reason to be out.
They also announced that grocery stores, the only businesses still open besides pharmacies, would be limiting their hours, so I decided that I should go out and get more food while I still could. Since we don’t have a car, I asked my teenage daughter to come so that she could help me carry everything back. She gladly accepted, since the three weeks of lockdown in a 390 square-foot apartment have proven to be quite a strain on our family dynamics. With our masks in hand, we left our apartment and walked onto the eerily empty street. It was a glorious spring day in Milan, trees full of colorful blossoms, a gentle breeze, birds chirping, and – just for a moment – everything felt normal.