Per Favore Aiutate Italia/Please Help Italy (Coronavirus)

I dread to open any news channel online or broadcast to see that there is no containment at the epicenter of the Coronavirus.

The epicenter is Italy. 

Italy is suffering.  I keep reading about a constant lack of simple things like masks, gloves, protective clothing, long hours of healthcare exhausted healthcare professional, not enough facilities, lack of ventilators and so fourth.

This diagram  shows cases of COVID-19 cases is growing – this waterfall diagram show this terrible progression and no containment whatsoever in Italy.

This waterfall diagram shows increases of active cases increasing daily in Italy.

I saw another statistics today saying that there is a 10% mortality rate if you contract the Coronavirus in Italy–that is 2.5 x higher than the highest mortality rate.  I have seen images of Italy’s healthcare community working 18 hours days–this is not only not sustainable and these professionals are directly in harms way without respite, nutrition and sleep–this feverish pitch decreases a body’s immune system.

And to further put this in context is a New York Times podcast with Michael Barbaro who is interviewing Dr. Fabiano Di Marco.  It is a must listen and the title of this podcast is “It’s like a warand this is how Dr. Di Marco describes his experience treating Covid-19 patients right now.

And I was going to put this at the end of the article but it is too important to not highlight prominently ways you can help if you are able to help: here are some organisations that you use your help:

And also please forward this list to people in your community who can help.


I was in Italy this past January in Piemonte and there was a constant news reporting from Wuhan.  Everyone was concerned back then and I don’t think anyone wasn’t thinking it wouldn’t come there way–it was a daily conversation then.  I have read several theories of why Italy has been so affected.  One of them was the high tourism rate in Italy from Asian tourists.  But Italy is visited in almost all of it’s 20 regions from people throughout the word–wouldn’t the rates be the same throughout?  The Veneto and Lombardia Coronavirus clusters are still a centre of the outbreak even now.

Here is a map of the quarantined areas as of 8-March-2020.

Most affected areas in Italy of Coronavirus (Credit: Dario Crespi)


While I keep hearing from US officials that they have no symptoms that doesn’t mean a person is not a carrier.  Only an officially sanctioned Coronavirus test kit can confirm.

I have looked for any data to see if someone can spread coronavirus without being ill themselves? I have looked from guidance from CDC and the answers are not there.  I have looked online for reliable sources and there is no one source of truth at this time.  And if I get any I will link to those sources of information.


The map below shows average weekly air travel in the world.  While flights have been stopped and borders are shut–people have come in contact with people and have no doubt spread it to every region in the world.  We are a global village after all.  We need to be very concerned and be proactive globally and locally. This is something we need to think about even after Coronaviris (and I pray it is contained soon).  Global trade is not going to stop but it could be slightly changed in the future.  Europe is at the centre of this maps of flights.

Average Weekly Travel on Planet Earth – Europe is the Centre of Average Weekly Travel (Credit:


The first person presented with Coronavirus was 38 year male from Codogno which is a small town (90,000 people) and is southeast of Milano (60 km/32 miles distance). He did come into contact with someone who had been in China recently.  Codogno is not Milano thought it is relatively close.  Look at the Lombardia and Veneto clusters which are northern Italy.   Codogno is not on any tourists maps but it is a city that is headquarters to MTA which a producer of automobile products, systems and electronics.  If you look at the first cases of Coronavirus and where they were reported those towns were not tourist towns.

Northern Italy and especially Lombardia are centres of production of electronics, pharmaceuticals, automobile goods, technology and, of course, food, wine, textiles, fashion goods, leather goods, etc.  Trade is not just something that happens somewhere in insolation.

In the example of Pharmaceutical products they are centres that are constantly visited by the world Health Authorities (FDA, NMPA, MFDS, EMA) – site inspections are not infrequent–on the contrary they are frequent and before Coronavirus might be an activity that was happening somewhere at any given hour on planet earth.  Health Authority (HA) visits can be to inspect entire sites, a specific drug or even a specific process or systems.  Pharma organisation can host training teams, having team members rotating through from remote sites–and they can send those teams to say China or South Korea or Brazil, etc.  There is a steady stream of inspectors, buyers, and relevant company employees site visits, meetings and trainings.  The Lombardia cluster is intriguing–Coronavirus was most likely introduced by trade and not by tourist solely.  The subsequent connecting point was the elderly relatives of people working in a variety of industries who thus contracted Coronavirus and spread it.  It was not Italy’s elderly population in isolation that got infected without it being introduced through this route that I am explaining here.  The constant question is why is Italy so highly impacted and it is not just about a demographic (i.e. older population) –it is Italy in it’s daily course of making a living (and yes seniors are very high risk for Coronavirus).  Italy’s seniors were next in line to contract the virus when they were so close to the working population of Italy.


Clusters of Coronavirus in Italy – the North has disproportionate numbers compared to the rest of Italy (Credit: New York Times)

The above map shows regional clusters through Italy.  I drew the red line which is the E35/E45 route going from Lombardia through Emilia-Romagna region to the Adriatic side–they are trade routes to the commercial port in Ravenna.  Emilia-Romagna has clusterings where there are large quantities of food–salumi, cheese, wine and even automobiles and electronics are produced.  This E35/E45 clustering is more pronounced that say to the ports of La Spezia or Genova.

What happens in the container business is consolidation of products prior to shipping to send worldwide—this trade route was harder hit than other trade routes simply because they are major centres along logical trade paths to the port.

I think the industry and reach of industry that Lombardia, Veneto and Piemonte have place in a such a risk position.  The “answers” I was seeking on the why were not accurate.  But I do think the long-term is to understand how not just Italy interacts with it’s customers worldwide is how we all do this.  And I hope we can mitigate a crisis like this in the future and also be prepared for the next viral outbreak.


Italy is very much in need and I think the world can and must help to bring this to containment.  It is too much for me to lament and do nothing.  I hope we can all work to help Italy in it’s second, minute and hour of need.

If we in the world–regardless of where you are right now can help–we are helping people in need including ourselves.

Thank you/mille grazie,


James the Wine Guy

Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.

© 2020 James Melendez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, drawings, art work, graphs, photographs, logo, brand name, rating, rating, taxonomy, graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy.  James the Wine Guy is also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

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About James Melendez

II love wine and business. I am obsessed with the subject, the art, the history, the sciences, organization management, and making things less complex I have been a former national wine marketing manager for a large off-premise food and wine retailer (280+ retail locations in 30 US States); the love for wine taught me the good practice of using the best methodologies to right side a business which unto itself is complex. Further complexity is wine. Wine simple to enjoy and yet profoundly complex because of many factors: Many grape varieties States of wine: sparkling, still and fortified wines Vintage Blends Regions/AVAs/DOCs etc. Many producer styles Many producers Limited supply Limited and often restricted distribution My experience is still a lot of intimidation with respect to wine. Wine means many things to many people; status, fear, success, ‘you’ve arrived’, enjoyment, good times, tradition and even ceremony. I have consulted with wine producers and association. I have spoken on Wine and Social Media, Wine and Video and The Business of Wine in conferences in the United States and Europe. Beer and spirits do have the same dynamics–there are many producers but compared to wine there is no other consumer product like it. I have been writing about since November 2006 on my site and I have over 2,890 wine videos on my YouTube channel talking about general wine subject matter as well as specific educational topics on wine and reviews. I have been a wine judge and have traveled to many wine countries in the new and old world. Wine has taken me to great places. Life is tough for most of us and it is nice to celebrate life with those near and even far. What wine is really about is sitting around a table with family and friends raising your wine glass and saying—to life! I love to write about travel, food, technology and business–please subscribe! Salute, *** A plethora of wine reviews from wines regions around the world. Read more of my wine © 2020, 2018, 2017, 2010 James P. Melendez – All Rights Reserved.
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