“Andrà tutto bene!”

It’s the Italian saying that has gone viral since cases of coronavirus have skyrocketed in Italy. It means: “Everything is going to be all right!”

It’s a very optimistic attitude, coming from a country that has been hit as severely as anyone by this pandemic. So, if Italians are looking forward to better times, we Minnesotans can do the same.

I know that the coronavirus is causing stressful, damaging, and unprecedented shocks to the U.S. economy, to working people, and is also threatening our most vulnerable neighbors: the elderly, folks with existing health problems, and those without health insurance — and, it’s possible everyone is at some risk.

Although we are in uncharted waters, with uncertainty in virtually every phase of our lives, Minnesotans are stepping up by cooperating with recommendations by Gov. Tim Walz and by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to practice social distancing, wash hands, not touch our faces and generally avoid gathering in large groups.

Our statewide health care workers are doing yeoman’s work in the face of extraordinary challenges: not enough safety equipment, not enough beds, not enough tests, and not enough personnel, but they are on the front lines doing everything possible to deal with this pandemic. I am incredibly proud of them, and we all should be.

Our teachers are working tirelessly to get lesson plans to their students through creative planning and working with technology in a way they may never have had to before. Families are facing unforeseen challenges like not only working from home, but also dealing with bored kids who should be in school. Many people have been furloughed and don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Bars, restaurants, beauty salons, fitness centers and others have been closed, and owners are trying to figure out if they will be able to survive once they can reopen.

Thankfully, at both the state and federal level there are large amounts of aid on the way with the hope of keeping people above water. Our lives may have changed forever, but when we face adversity, we find a way through it. We are in this crisis together, and we will figure it out. Working together, we will make a better Iron Range, a better Minnesota, and a better USA! “Andrà tutto bene!”

On Wednesday, Gov. Walz issued a two-week, stay-at-home executive order. Most of us have been doing it already — heck, I made my first-ever banana bread, and it was pretty good — so hopefully a couple more weeks will benefit us all. Yet, a discouraging thing has been occurring: hoarding! Hoarding of products that have never ever experienced shortages in any of our lifetimes.

Hoarding isn’t a solution. Hoarding creates hysteria. Last week, in St. Paul, I was in two Cub Foods, an Aldi, Walgreens and Costco all within two miles of one another. There was not one roll of toilet paper, not one box of Kleenex, not one napkin, not one bottle of hand sanitizer, nor one container of disinfectant wipes. When I got home to the Iron Range, I experienced the same situation — and add eggs to the list.

We can do better. It’s understandable that people may think they have to stock up, but our grocery stores are not closing. Our supply chains will continue to deliver. I believe we need to get back to normal shopping patterns. Go shopping if you need something. Don’t go shopping to load up “just in case.” If everyone adds “grocery shopping only when you really need something” to their list of things we can do to be a part of the solution, I believe some of the stress will be alleviated.

It’s clear we will be dealing with a new abnormal normal due to the coronavirus for some time to come. We will come up with a solution, and the virus will be neutralized. It may take a year or more. Hopefully, it’ll be sooner. It will have an indelible effect on all our lives, an effect we would rather not have had to experience. Our nation’s current efforts should lay the foundation to deal swiftly with any similar type of virus in the future. But, through all the changes we will be adjusting to, one thing we don’t have to do is make a rush on our grocery stores. Let’s at least get our grocery shopping back to normal.

“Andrà tutto bene.”

 

David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, is a member of the Minnesota Senate.