We are publishing submissions about the COVID-19 crisis from readers daily on NewPhilosopher.com in the hope that it can help us all make sense of what is happening, and as a historical record of how it made us feel. Here are your thoughts, from around the world.

By Liliana Schiavo, Rome, Italy

Stay at home!” the metallic voice orders from the police car speakers. “Stay at home” is what the media continuously reminds us about. We have to stay at home, it’s the only way to block this virus. As of today, the first day of Spring, in Italy we have 42,681 cases, 4,825 deaths and 6,072 recovered, while our souls are turning black.

Our hospitals are full, many patients do well in ICU but many others die alone. Family and close friends are not even allowed a last goodbye because isolation orders continue after a patient dies. Hundreds of dead bodies pile up every day but we’re not allowed to see our parents, sons, sisters and friends one last time, before their cold corpses are carried away. Our cemeteries are full too and burials in nearby towns have become the norm. The many coffins are taken away by army trucks, bringing us back to war scenarios, but this time the war is silent and the enemy is invisible to our human eyes.

We are paralised in surrealness. Empty cities. The same cities that only a few months ago were busting with life, are now deserted. There is no more scent of coffee and chatting inside bars. Our streets are patrolled by the police, stopping walkers and drivers to check the reason for being outdoors. We must follow health orders otherwise we’ll fail the system. We can only leave our residences to buy groceries and medications. Lines outside the supermarkets are too long, with people one meter away from each other. Empty shelves inside the supermarket leave us with a dreadful feeling of anxiety. We miss the sense of power we perceived when we were free to choose that particular brand and product. Yet all we have now is the fear of the unknown we all share.

We believed we ruled the world but a mysterious virus has suddenly shattered our ideas of omnipotence, turning us into prisoners. Locked down and isolated from each other, we can do little more than sing from balconies and hope.