When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

An Italian Sunday Lunch Served In COVID's Second Wave

For a Milanese writer, this is how his family lunch looks right now.

Primo piatto and second wave
Primo piatto and second wave
Alessio Perrone

Last Sunday, I sat on an ample, white-tiled balcony in Milan with ten relatives for a family lunch.

In normal times, such family gatherings occur whenever we have a reason to celebrate — which is, often. The Italian lockdown between March and May interrupted the tradition, but it resumed quickly and naturally, like animals coming out of hibernation when the winter is over.

This latest Sunday lunch, however, was organized in the face of what looks like COVID-19's next winter. In Italy, rather than a strict around-the-clock lockdown, the government "strongly recommends' that people do not let more than six people into their homes at a time. My relatives decided double that would be OK if we wore masks, stayed outdoors, and six feet apart.

Perhaps we just have to accept that.

It wasn't the only way in which they groaned at Italy's new set of rules, which includes curfews for bars and restaurant-goers and bans on leisure sports and indoor and outdoor parties.

"The situation is not that critical," a cousin said, noting how the death rate was much lower than in March. "It's unfair to pick on professional categories and ruin their livelihoods like that."

Someone else added that a certain number of deaths are unavoidable in the face of this kind of pandemic: "Perhaps we just have to accept that."

Even my mother chimed in on the "anti-maskers' who are getting more and more attention on Italian TV: "I don't like them, but I start to understand where they come from."

My family does not believe in conspiracy theories and nobody thinks COVID-19 is a hoax. We were all as scared as anyone back in March when our home region became the global epicenter of the pandemic. My mother was among those who took to supermarkets in the panic that followed Italy's first death: she stashed masks, hand sanitizer, pasta. She was not only terrified, but also furious at anyone who didn't respect the rules.

Cycling (with a mask) in Milan — Photo: Mikita Yo

Now, with mixed recommendations taking the place of last spring's hard-and-fast rules, it's not easy to know exactly what to do. By the middle of this week, Milan was leading Italy into its second wave, and prominent doctors said the city faced a "critical situation" and infections were "out of control," and needed new rules with no wiggle room.

Between the perfect horror movie plot and an Italian postcard of civic solidarity.

On Thursday, regional authorities finally introduced stricter rules: an 11 p.m. curfew. Every other day it seems, somewhere in Italy is adding new restrictions, though there is still far more freedom than the first wave.

Back in March, this mysterious pandemic's arrival seemed to oscillate between the perfect horror movie plot (public hysteria, politicians in over their heads, an entire city sent into lockdown isolation) and an Italian postcard of civic solidarity (the singing from balconies, flags on the windows, crowdfunders for hospitals).

As we queue up the sequel, there is no singing, no crowdfunders, no flags. Infections are sky-rocketing, and the death toll creeping up, though thankfully still much lower than the spring. Even one week later, looking back at that family gathering, the white balcony and gray skies, individuals largely left with their own fears and doubts about what's right and wrong; an age-old family tradition trying to reaffirm itself. More than a horror movie plot, I have a creeping sense that this is what we we'll be calling life for awhile.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Is Disney's "Wish" Spreading A Subtle Anti-Christian Message To Kids?

Disney's new movie "Wish" is being touted as a new children's blockbuster to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary. But some Christians may see the portrayal of the villain as God-like and turning wishes into prayers as the ultimate denial of the true message of Christmas.

photo of a kid running out of a church

For the Christmas holiday season?

Joseph Holmes

Christians have always had a love-hate relationship with Disney since I can remember. Growing up in the Christian culture of the 1990s and early 2000s, all the Christian parents I knew loved watching Disney movies with their kids – but have always had an uncomfortable relationship with some of its messages. It was due to the constant Disney tropes of “follow your heart philosophy” and “junior knows best” disdain for authority figures like parents that angered so many. Even so, most Christians felt the benefits had outweighed the costs.

That all seems to have changed as of late, with Disney being hit more and more by claims from conservatives (including Christian conservatives) that Disney is pushing more and more radical progressive social agendas, This has coincided with a steep drop at the box office for Disney.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest