BYU-Idaho alumna Kammy Shepherd recently returned from her trip in Europe with her husband and her mother. They went to Italy, France and Spain. There they were able to see how the COVID-19 coronavirus situation played out in that part of the world and how it contrasts with the United States and its situation.
Shepherd was in Europe from Feb. 26 until March 12, which was when the outbreak with COVID-19 started in northern Italy.
“We were running before the storm instead of chasing the storm, it was chasing us sort of thing,” she said.
They flew to Milan, which was where most of the cases were, and they got their temperatures checked at the airport gate and there were a few people wearing masks.
“It was so weird because that airport was a ghost town,” Shepherd said.
This made it easier for them to do social distancing. Once they were outside the airport the first thing they did was get into a rental car. Shepherd said this is what probably saved them from the coronavirus, since most of the people in Italy use public transportation.
In Italy, people greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks and a hug. Shepherd said they saw a lot of people during their visit in Italy still greet people this way. But, since they have been back to the U.S. the people in Italy have made a more conscious effort to stop that, so the virus stops spreading.
“It seemed like Italians were cautious and they understood that it could be a crisis, but they were not panicking,” she said.
Shepherd explained it’s so important to remain calm because if people become stressed and anxious about the virus, that stress can weaken the immune system.
“There is a certain level of anxiety that comes with it, but it just doesn’t make sense to entertain that thought because I’m stuck in quarantine here. That is what is happening in the world so I’m just going to take it one day at a time and hope that things start to look up,” she said.
She suggests if you are feeling any sort of anxiety about this to find something to help you release that stress and continue to follow all the guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Right now, Shepherd, her husband and her mother are in quarantine. She said, unlike what panic-buyers may make you think, they have only needed one roll of toilet paper so far for this week. So, she explained that we need to help each other if there are people who don’t have the supplies they need and there is no need to panic by buying all the toilet paper you can carry.