By CBS News foreign correspondent Seth Doane:

First, we watched Wuhan, China, empty its streets, and it felt so far away. Then, it was the canals of Venice and the piazzas of Rome, empty, too.

Now, across the world, the odd concept of “quarantine” has become surprisingly familiar. 

My husband, Andrea, and I have been locked in for nearly two weeks in Rome. I’ve been keeping a journal on my phone, after being exposed, and then testing positive, for the coronavirus.


Seth Doane being tested at home for COVID-19. The test came back positive.

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“Well, I got the news tonight that I was hoping not to get.”

For me, the symptoms have been manageable, which is fortunate in a country where hospital systems have been overwhelmed. Doctors have been forced to prioritize patients in the ICU … and funeral announcements have filled newspapers.

I’m not worried about my health; I’m feeling okay, I’m relatively young. I’ll be fine. But this idea of possibly passing it along [to others] is the worst.

So, like so many around the world now, we stay in, working from home, relying on the kindness of others. A neighbor helps with shopping for groceries. “It’s very sweet of him,” said Andrea.

Italians, who invented opera, have again come up with a musical distraction – fitting for our time. It has become a very cool evening tradition: singing from a safe distance, filling empty streets and squares with a little levity and sound. In all of this unpleasantness, it’s great. You think of all of these people in these big cities around Italy cooped up at home, and it’s something to look forward to.


Italians in lockdown join together in song.

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Amid this unimaginable tragedy, they’ve found humor … and have highlighted the gastronomic possibilities of quarantine. Our foodie cameraman even shares meals virtually.


Sharing culinary posts on social media.

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In this country which has been shut down, aperitivo is now by video-chat; dinner is, too, as we search for ways to keep our human connection.


Italians sharing libations virtually.

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With fatalities here mounting by the hour, this virus is reminding us of what’s important – a chance to step out on the terrace on a sunny day. And this being Italy, the doctor following our case has promised to cook us dinner when this is all over.

Story produced by Mikaela Bufano. Editor: Brian Robbins. 

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