Raleigh native talks about what it’s like living in Italy during COVID-19 outbreak

Local News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Life has changed dramatically in a matter of weeks for Toni Mazzaglia.

A Raleigh native, Mazzaglia moved to Italy 18 years ago where she now lives in Florence and is experiencing the country’s nationwide shelter-in-place order in response to COVID-19.

“The first week when you go out of the house it feels very bizarre, and then it starts to feel more bizarre when you’re out and things are empty and you see someone nearby,” she said. “You’re allowed to walk to the closest grocery store or the closest pharmacy. I have not done either. I have been in this house since March 8th, a few days before they told us to stay home.”

She goes outside to walk the dog in the garden near the home where she’s staying, but other than that she says she remains inside.

More deaths have been reported in Italy than any other country. As of Friday morning, more than 14,000 people have died there due to COVID-19 out of about 58,000 people worldwide. In the United States, nearly 7,000 deaths have been reported.

Mazzaglia said she’s remained healthy the last several weeks. In her newfound isolation, she started a new podcast called “The Corona Podcast” (click here to listen: https://coronapodcast.com/).

She talks about her own experiences and interviews others across the globe about how they’re handling the evolving pandemic.

She also has talked to experts about how to process these changes and cope with them.

“And, it really helped me to accept this and to understand why it’s really important for everyone to follow the rules in a life-threatening situation like this. Even if it feels like our social liberties are at risk, our health is more important in this case,” she said. “When I started on March 10th, I was looking into the future and saying to you guys, this is what’s going on over here. Please listen and know what you can do and why it’s important.”

While North Carolina has implemented a stay-at-home order, which went into effect this week, there are calls for that to happen nationwide to more effectively combat the spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is on the president’s coronavirus task force, was asked about the issue Thursday night on CNN.

“If you look at what’s going on in this country. I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that. We really should be,” he said.

More than 30 states have implemented statewide stay-at-home orders as of Friday morning. In the remaining states, some communities have implemented the orders themselves while others have no orders in effect at all.

In South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) had not issued a statewide order as of Friday morning but has taken other steps, such as closing non-essential businesses. Some cities, including Columbia and Charleston, have issued stay-at-home orders, but the state’s attorney general Alan Wilson has said that’s unconstitutional, citing the governor’s authority to make that determination.

“I would like to think that everyone’s doing the best they can, but I would urge every state to take this seriously,” Mazzaglia said.

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