‘We took it lightly’: Quarantined Italians record video messages with dire coronavirus warning

FILE - A covid-19 coronavirus patient poses for photo by looking at the mirror at her home as she is being quarantined. ( Photo by Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images )

A video on YouTube depicts Italians under quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic recording messages to themselves from 10 days in the future in an attempt to show what can happen when precautionary measures to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus aren’t taken seriously.

The video was produced by “A Thing By,” which is described as “a collective of filmmakers based in Milano,” according to the YouTube channel. The video was released on March 15, after Italy implemented a nationwide lockdown on March 9 in a desperate bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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In the video, the quarantined residents explain to themselves “from the future” how things have been upended by the pandemic, describing what their lives used to be like before the lockdown. 

“Up until 10 days ago, I went to meetings for work, I’d go to dinner with friends, to the gym, to the hairdresser. The usual boring things, and that never hurt anybody,” said one woman in the video.

“But in 10 days, life won’t be like this anymore,” said another quarantined resident. 

The people in the video go on to explain that infections in the country “will continue to increase,” urging their past selves to take the pandemic seriously with one man addressing his past self, saying the video would prove to him that “this all wasn’t bulls**t like you thought.”

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“Ten days ago we had 2,000 people infected, now we’re at 18,000,” warns another resident. “We already passed 1,000 deaths,” he added. 

A health care worker also chimes in to address how dangerous conditions are at local hospitals. 

The description of the video says, “It is believed nations like the US, England, France, Spain and Germany are about 9-10 days behind Italy in the COVID-19 progression.” 

The video ends with hopeful messages from the residents explaining how they are coping with the lockdown, but urges those who are behind in social distancing practices to consider what will happen if the pandemic continues to go ignored. 

In bold writing at the end of the video, “We underestimated this. You don’t have to do the same,” appears as a final warning. 

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte put his entire country on lockdown on March 9 to combat the spread of the coronavirus, banning all but the most important travel and putting the final kibosh on social gatherings after Italians failed to take previous warnings to heart amid skyrocketing new infections.

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“Our habits must be changed, changed now. We all have to give up something for the good of Italy. When I speak of Italy, I speak of our dear ones, of our grandparents and of our parents,” Conte said. “We will succeed only if we all collaborate and we adapt right away to these more stringent norms.”

The nationwide restrictions were set to last until April 3 and include extending the closures of schools and universities and closing pubs, eateries and cafes.

Conte took to task young people who continued to gather socially as the virus spread, saying “this night life... we can't allow this any more.”

On the evening of the first day of the country’s lockdown, Italy registered 1,807 additional confirmed cases, for a national total of 9,172. The number of dead in Italy also increased by 97 to 463 — most of them elderly with previous ailments.

On March 18, Italy saw a record new high in the numbers of infections and deaths reported, adding more than 4,200 new cases for a total of 35,713 infections. Another 475 people died, bringing Italy’s death toll to 2,978.

Barring a miracle, Italy will surpass China in the number of coronavirus deaths in just one more day.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.