Former SWFL residents experience heavily-affected coronavirus populations

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Italian soldiers patrol as the Duomo gothic cathedral is visible in background, in Milan, Friday, March 20, 2020. Mayors of many towns in Italy are asking for ever more stringent measures on citizens’ movements to help contain the surging infections of the coronavirus. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Hospitals in Italy are overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients. The country announced 627 new COVID-19 deaths Friday.

We spoke to two people with Southwest Florida ties who shared their words of warning with everyone.

“Isn’t over yet, at all,” said Laura Bonomi in Rome, Italy.

Bonomi owns property in Rotonda West in Charlotte County but lives in Rome full-time, which just passed China in coronavirus deaths with more than 600 Friday alone. There was a rise in those numbers despite a mandatory shutdown.

“Everything is quiet,” Bonomi said. “Everything is so surreal, especially in the evenings.

And back here in the states, Port Charlotte native Gary Cutright now lives in New York, where there are more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases statewide, 36 near his home in Erie County.

“I stay at home as much as I can,” Cutright said. “I go out for essentials if I need to.”

Both Bonomi and Cutright blame the high number of cases in their area on their neighbors not taking advice from medical professionals..

“They were going to the grocery stores, going to the malls, just a shop,” Cutright said. “They took it as a day off of work pretty much.”

In Italy, Bonomi says people are risking fines and jailtime by breaking government-mandated, quarantine rules.

“If you don’t do as you’re told, this will keep on going, and it won’t stop,” Bonomi said.

Italy’s lockdown is in place until at least next month. New York’s governor announced a ban on gatherings statewide and will require all non-essential business employees to stay home beginning Sunday.

Bonomi and Cutright’s messages to all is to limit non-essential travel and follow all CDC recommendations.

“Stop being selfish,” Bonomi said. “If you don’t wanna do it for you, do it for the others.”

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.