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Arkansan living in Italy warns the U.S. as COVID-19 spreads

Italy is considered to be 10 days ahead of the U.S. in COVID-19 progression.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — It's eerily quiet as the busiest parts of Italy are empty. For the second week, the country is under lockdown to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

"At first, I was reluctant to wear gloves and reluctant to cover my face. You don't want to do that, because then it's scary. It's real," said Christian Jacquez.

Jacquez grew up in Arkansas and he is living in Italy to finish his engineering degree. He said that although life in Italy is much different than in the United States, he fears this virus will treat us much the same as it has overseas.

"Immediate action is required and that's things you can do. You know, stay indoors and don't go out if necessary," said Jacquez. 

"We are just asked to stay home. If we can't even do that to save ourselves... I don't know what we would do if this was worse."

Italy has around 60,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases. That's the second-largest amount behind China.

But as the Italians are known for being passionate and true entertainers, they are not letting being confined to their houses stop them from enjoying life.

Viral videos of people singing and playing instruments on their balconies have become a sensation throughout the turmoil

"If you have a guitar, a trombone, or a harmonica, everybody plays at 6 and I thought maybe it's a one-time thing it's nice, but every day it became something else," said Jacquez."

"The Italian way of life dolce vita!"

Since Sunday, Italy has seen a drop in COVID-19 cases, sparking hope that the country has hit its peak. 

Key facts to know about coronavirus in Arkansas as of March 23:

  • 197 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas 
  • 1,128 total tests
  • 931 negative test results
  • All public schools are closed until April 17
  • All restaurants and bars are directed to operate under carry-out and to-go options only "until further notice."

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