KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The last time Lori King left her home, she could count the number of people who were also outside. And she could show that number on one hand.
The American, now residing in Assisi, Italy, has been living under a government-ordered quarantine since last Monday.
"We are only allowed to leave the house for basic necessities. For the pharmacy, for the grocery store," King said.
Italy has become the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic. More than 2,500 people have died from the virus and nearly 13,000 people have been hospitalized, according to Italy's health ministry.
The government's mandated lock down has closed stores, cafes, even churches. Assisi is best known as the birthplace of St. Francis and has one of the oldest existing Gothic churches in Italy.
"When I first heard about this I thought, ‘My gosh, this seems so extreme,'" King said. "The difference with this virus is that it is highly contagious, and it’s much more aggressive."
Her advice to friends, family and strangers in the United States now self-quarantining and practicing social distance, is not to panic.
"Don’t panic. Prudence, not panic," she said. "Follow the directives, stay at home. If people follow the directives well, the time of the quarantine will be much shorter. The hashtag in Italy is ‘tutto andrà bene,’ which means all will be well."