The coronavirus has officially been labeled a pandemic as it continues it’s global spread, surpassing 115,000 cases worldwide. Italy has seen its death toll rise from the virus to over 10,000, behind only China. The country is on lockdown as it tries to further combat the spread.
Lenore Hawkins, chief macro strategist at Tematica, joined Yahoo FInance’s On the Move, to provide a first-hand account of what’s happening in Italy. “The rest of the world needs to look at what’s happening here,” she said.
Hawkins, who live in the Lombardy region’s Lake Como, warns that the reason the country ended up in this situation is because it didn’t take the virus seriously. “It isn’t like this is some third world country that doesn’t have proper health care,” she said. “Look around, most every other country isn’t either,” she said.
“Now, no one’s out. You see anyone, they’re wearing a mask. People are terrified of each other,” she warns.
Hawkins says the escalation of the virus in Italy has been so rapid that hospitals have struggled to keep up. “There were so many people who needed to be hospitalized that we have simply run out of beds. … They’re taking any building that they find that’s empty, to use it as an emergency facility to house people who need to be put on these ventilators.”
Hawkins says the worst part has been the doctors making “those gut-wrenching decisions, to decide who they’re just going to let die in favor of who they think they may save.”
On the financial side, she warns the growing question the world will have to grapple with is, “With so much debt, where does the money come from?”
Despite the despair, Hawkins says she is starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. “Here we are now, 18 days, we went from closing the first town, to 60 million people under quarantine, to shops all over the country shut, that we have some signs of optimism.”
“The few little towns that were the first ones hit, that were the first ones closed, they’ve seen a huge slowdown in the cases, so there’s optimism there,” she added.
McKenzie DeGroot is a producer at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @degrootmckenzie