We just arrived back in Italy yesterday. It was Easter Sunday. And now, after more than two years of COVID, the world is trying to learn how to live again while understanding that COVID is still with us and may be around for years to come. Below is an image of the sunrise from our bedroom window this morning. It's a fitting photo because what we found today, the Monday after Easter, is that Italy is once again full of life.
Italy has been through some of the worst of COVID. The first COVID outbreaks in northern Italy in the spring of 2020 were some of the worst in the world. There have been 15.7 million cases over the last two years out of population of 60 million people. 162,000 Italians have died. But through strict lockdown measures and an amazingly cooperative citizenry things finally seem to be improving. Today 80% of the Italian population has been fully vaccinated and 66% are fully boosted. So earlier this month the Italian government drastically eased its COVID restrictions and made entry requirements for foreign visitors much easier to navigate. The end result is that Italy is now returning to life. People are out. People are smiling. People are eating at restaurants and drinking wine. It feels like people are celebrating. All indicators are that the world desperately wants to come back to Italy and plans to do so this summer.
So here's to you Italy. Have a great summer and once again remind the rest of us of what it means to live life well. You deserve to celebrate. And over the next couple weeks we'll do everything we can to help you do just that.