Short comic history of a pandemic (2020-2021)

Original column BY: Sergio Flore

Translation BY: Costantino Ceoldo

Short comic history of a pandemic (2020-2021)

PEJOURNAL – In a way yes, they are right: it is like a war. But no, no bayonet charges against the enemy. No act of courage or self-denial and certainly a few pats on the back between fellow soldiers. However, there is Manichean thought, the implicit rhetoric of the “with us or against us”. There is the impossibility of stopping, doubting, asking questions, on pain of social exclusion. Here, in this sense, yes, it is like a war. Brief review, in outline, of the stages of the military campaign. I go by heart:

February 2020

The “Chinese virus” is harmless, don’t worry. Who fears it, is a racist who hates gooks. Here it is, the real disease: racism. Meanwhile, incredible videos come from the East, people passing out on the street, militarized areas, arrests.

March – May 2020

The Chinese virus is not harmless, at all. It comes in Italy, travels in Economy in the lungs of an elusive Patient Zero, or Mister X – names from a series of B spy story, very useful for jotting down some headlines in the newspaper. Comparisons are made with the Spanish Flu, some even shoot it bigger, bring up the Black Plague.

The discrepancies between deaths in Japan and China, Switzerland and Italy, Great Britain and Germany are not explained. Is it contagion or counting that makes the epidemic?

The numbers tell different stories but at this point, dragged into the vortex of the media, they no longer have meaning at all. And in any case, the problem is not so much the virus as the structural deficiencies of the health system. In short, let’s close everything so as not to collapse the hospitals. Let’s do it for the weakest. The emotional wave is irresistible and there are no survivors. Here in Italy too the “lockdown” is decided and, after something like seventeen centuries, Italy renounces Easter. It is forbidden to live, let alone resurrect.

June-September 2020

Apparent truce. Some shy virologist-infectious-epidemiologist comes forward, pulls out the ISS [1] data that speak of a rather low mortality. They begin to understand how to treat the virus, the treatments improve. WHO reviews the indications on the masks: they are useless. We want to breathe again, to live. Well, now is the right time to take serious action: build up the clinics, reopen the many hospitals demolished by the hammer of austerity. But the government thinks differently, and invests in masks and wheeled desktops [2].

October 2020

Schools reopen. The children show up armed with masks (the WHO has changed its mind and now they must be worn, even better if double, one on top of the other). Spaced out in the schoolyard, waiting for the break-the-lines, the very young students remember unwitting miniature of soldiers, platoons lined up between the walls of a gray barracks. Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in The Wall video comes to mind [3]. Parents are silent. Patience, it will pass. And in fact it passes: we return to the DAD [4]. And the wheeled benches? Rotten away.

November 2020

Outbreaks of asymptomatic people everywhere, even under the carpet. Hand with felt-tip pens: Italy gets colored. Easy easy, like a traffic light, but without the green. Complaints? Blame the nightlife, the young people, the tourists, yourself.

Meanwhile, on the official FAQs, the Government clearly writes that no, the vaccine does not stop the infection, and therefore no, you will not be able to remove the mask even when vaccinated.

But, hey!, what about vaccines? Where are the promised new hospitals? Nobody remembers those anymore. There is talk of ecological reconversion, gender politics, lotteries.

December 2020-February 2021

All for nothing: the variant has arrived. The government gives new absurd provisions, enters homes, regulates. The Government ruins the Christmas of the Italians. The government ruins the Italians. Thousands of people celebrate in the square in Wuhan, in Switzerland they ski, in Italy the mountain economy is annihilated. The executive collapses on itself: the gang of runaways is replaced by “the best” [5], but the heads that had to cut off remain there, masked and anchored in power. However, there is continuity: the government is for the lockdown, the former opposition is for the lockdown but with the vaccines, the new opposition is for the lockdown but with government subsidies.

March 2021

Let’s start with vaccinations. The “Italy Model” – total lie, it never existed – is behind Russia, behind Britain, behind the USA. In a few weeks and maybe something else is wrong. There are side effects, even some deaths. Developed in record time, the AstraZeneca vaccine could be a flop. For now, AIFA prohibits its distribution, risking to blow the super commissioner’s plan. Those who have spent months looking for COVID deaths high and low are quick to change the cards on the table:

when it comes to deaths and vaccines, correlation and cause are no longer the same thing.

After a year the circle closes, we are back to the drawing board. After a year, even those who are fit as a fiddle begin to fail. Twelve months, and the questions are still too many. They exhaust, they tire, they have the weight of boulders. It is a war, of course: of attrition. And it is a cold war, a civil war between isolated men and women, with covered faces, who mean-mug on at each other to understand who is with whom.

On the one hand, there are those who still believe they are at a final lockdown from the final victory. On the other hand, those who no longer even believe in the possibility of a debate. They just want to get off this hellish carousel. After a year, nausea begins.

[Translator notes: once again, I offer to foreign readers a view about the Italian situation in the COVID era. Mister Sergio Flore uses a caustic irony to remember to us the many mistakes made by the previous government, mistakes that the new government in office apparently is ready to repeat but you are not allow telling it. The sad reality is that, looking to the mistakes made and the decisions ruled out in the past year, if COVID-19 was really a New Plague, it could have killed millions of people in Italy. This not happened. Any question? ]

[1] Acronym for the Italian Higher Institute for Health

[2] Wheeled desktops to help students to maintain “social distancing” when at school. For example:


[4] Distant teaching, via internet

[5] Mr. Mario Draghi, new in office Prime Minister after the previous one, Mr. Giseppe Conte: