DailyOh! How coronavirus could have landed from Wuhan in Italy, to how Tom Cruise ‘matched’ Kelly McGillis in Top Gun

Italy and China have voguish connections.

 |  7-minute read |   19-03-2020
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Last night a 25-year-old man jumped to death from the seventh floor of Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital where he had been brought to be tested for a possible coronavirus infection. The man had returned from Sydney and complained of a headache. His samples had been collected but the results were awaited. We guess, he just panicked and that is why experts have been telling us repeatedly to not panic. Indian authorities are saying the situation so far is under control.

In Italy, though, the situation is no longer under control. In fact, it is so bad that there is no one to collect the bodies of those who have died inside their homes. The dead are being stacked up to be buried as funeral services are strictly prohibited. Burial grounds, on the other hand, are running out of space to accommodate bodies. Just yesterday, 475 people in Italy died due to Covid-19.  There are a total of 35,713 confirmed cases in the country.

itlay_690.._031920045247.jpgJust yesterday, 475 people died due to Covid-19, in Italy. (Photo: Reuters)

Lombardy, the worst-hit region, recorded 319 deaths in one day. Most of Italy is under lockdown and cities are deserted. Lombardy Governor Attilio Fontana has said soon medical facilities in the area wouldn’t be able to help new coronavirus patients. Well, many cities are getting deserted in India too but in Italy, cities such as Lombardy are literally ghost towns. People can’t get on roads even to buy groceries if they do not fill a government form and carry their IDs along. The police are free to check if you are actually going where you said you would be going. Which means, these ghost towns have limited people presence, but there was once a ghost town that actually had no people. It wasn’t always like that. At one point, it was a town with over 50,000 people.

That town was Pripyat in Ukraine. Named after the nearby Pripyat river, the city was founded on February 4, 1970 as the ninth nuclear city, which is supposed to be a type of closed city, in the Soviet Union, to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. In April 1986, all residents were evacuated from the town after the power plant exploded. The explosion threatened the existence of much of Europe because it was estimated the radiations would travel across the European continent. A correct estimate of how many deaths the tragedy caused could never be made because radiation exposure may cause cancer and it may take months, maybe years, for people to die of cancer. Also, it is impossible to know what caused the cancer if you are far removed from the site of the disaster.

Pripyat continues to an abandoned city because nuclear reactors are believed to emit radiations for years after such disasters. But people visit once a while as part of what is called disaster tourism. Want to know more about it, read this. Also, if you want to know what happened at the Chernobyl plant in detail, a documentary by the same name is on Hotstar. Use your time at hand to watch it. 

Coming back to Italy’s ghost towns, we wish normalcy returns soon. Though after losing so many people, we do not know what normalcy could actually mean for Italy.

But amid this despair, over 4,000 have successfully recovered from the disease in Italy and that is why we repeat what the experts have been repeating – do not panic.

Now, many say the catastrophe was brought to Italy by two Chinese tourists who fell sick in Rome. But scientists say that the virus could have reached Italy way before. What is the basis of their claim? Well, laboratory tests that isolated a strain of the new coronavirus from an Italian patient, showed genetic differences when compared with the original strain isolated in China and from the two Chinese tourists who became sick in Rome. You can read the full details of what the scientists have found here.

It, however, shouldn’t be very surprising that a virus that originated in China has spread so rapidly across Italy. After all, the two countries have shared deep connections for long.

Northern Italy has a flourishing fashion industry and is thus a prosperous region. Brands such as Prada and Gucci are headquartered in northern Italy. Now, remember northern Italy is where the spread has been the worst.

In a globalised world, manufacturing work is often outsourced to countries that offer cheap labour. And you know that China provides one of the cheapest manufacturing options to the world.

So, Italian fashion brands had outsourced their manufacturing to China. And where in China? Wuhan, the place where the outbreak was first reported. The business is so intricate that there are direct flights between Wuhan and Milan, and Wuhan and Rome.

Lombardy, which we told you has been the worst hit, is one of the richest areas in Italy and the region owes its wealth to the fashion industry. Lombardy’s capital, Milan, is a global hub of fashion and finance, with many high-end shops and restaurants.

The outbreak went unnoticed for over a month in China. All this while people were travelling between Italy and Wuhan. That, perhaps, explains why the spread in Italy has been so bad that it has spiralled out of control.

Now, we told you that the situation in India, according to authorities, is under control. And for it to remain so, it is important that we take all the precautions that the government health experts are asking us to. People are being asked to maintain social distancing. Some people are also being put into isolation and quarantine depending on the symptoms they show for Covid-19. This is mostly being done for people who either have a recent foreign travel history or have come in contact with someone who recently travelled abroad.

The word isolation sounds a little scary. A lot of people who live alone are a little wary of working from home fearing social isolation. Let’s try and dig a little deeper into the word to see if we should really fear it. Isolation is our Word Of The Day.

The word isolated comes from the Latin word insula, which means island. Isolated literally means far away from everyone or everything else. Now, being alone on an island might seem like a romantic idea to some, but to live it even for a day, we guess, would be an unbearable task. You must have watched Tom Hanks-starrer Cast Away (2000). If by any chance you haven’t, you must.

For now, here’s the trailer: It will show you why you would never want to land on an island, isolated from the world.

Now, the versatile actor is actually ‘Cast Away’ in an Australia hotel because of coronavirus, only he isn’t alone. He has wife Rita Wilson to keep him company. She too has been found to be coronavirus-positive. Reports suggest both are recovering well.

If by any chance you land up in isolation or quarantine due to Covid-19, panic not. Here's a diary from an isolation ward in Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital.

But since we have been using the words isolation and quarantine interchangeably, we thought it was important to clear the difference.

Isolation is used to separate people who are ill and have a communicable disease, from those who are healthy. Isolation basically helps stop the spread of diseases. Quarantine, on the other hand, is used to separate and restrict the movement of healthy people, who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, to see if they become ill. Now, by healthy here we just mean those who are not suffering from a contagious disease. Just because you are not suffering from a contagious disease doesn’t mean you are healthy. But we will deal with larger questions of health once the world is done with Covid-19. 

If you want to dig deeper into the word quarantine, read this.

For now, we want to take you away from the news of coronavirus. You must have heard that the sequel of the 1986 movie Top Gun is on the cards. Speaking about it, Tom Cruise, who would be repeating his role as pilot Peter 'Maverick' Mitchell, sounded rather excited saying he never expected that the sequel would be made. This got us thinking about the role Tom Cruise played in the original movie.

tom-cruise-690_031920045334.jpgThe sequel of the 1986 movie Top Gun is on the cards. (Photo: Twitter)

You know, Tom Cruise’s onscreen love interest in the movie Kelly McGillis was 5'10", while Tom Cruise 5'7". He had to wear lifts in all his scenes with McGillis. Now, that’s because we want to see our actors to stand taller than our actresses.

We will leave you with that for today, but we will be back tomorrow.

Take care. Stay safe.

Also read: Covid-19: How to contain the contagion before it is too late

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