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Italy facing third wave of COVID

A former First Coast resident describes what it's like facing a third COVID wave in Florence, Italy where she now lives.

FLORENCE, Italy — Lockdown fatigue is something Carmina Aguirre knows well.

“It's been extremely frustrating,” Aguirre said.

Retired from the125th Fighter Wing of the Florida Air National Guard, she has lived permanently in Florence, Italy since 2019.

As Italy sees another surge in cases, the country is facing its third wave the coronavirus one year after it became the first European county to lockdown.

“To be quite candid, it's actually getting tougher and tougher, and I think like a little mentally distressing,” Aguirre said. “The best way that I can say it right now is that if you were on a deployment, for example, you were in Iraq, you have access to all of the base. You’re not really without things. You can still get your groceries. You can still do certain things, but you can't go outside of there. So that's kind of what it feels like.”

Italy is divided into orange and red zones right now. She is living in an orange zone. Travel outside of Florence is prohibited unless it is essential. She is not allowed to have more than two guests inside her home at a time. Wearing face masks outdoors is mandatory.

“There are so many limitations that they are putting on you.” Aguirre said.

While many in the United States see a light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine becoming more widely available, she said it is a different story in Italy.

“We’re still only issuing it to over 80 and then key workers, so it's a very slow rollout over here.”

Only about 4.6% of Italy's population is fully vaccinated according to Johns Hopkins University.

Restrictions will soon get even tighter as almost all of Italy will be designated a red zone over Easter, when people will not be allowed to leave their homes except for work or health.

Aguirre is now contemplating what many Americans have already done, moving back to the United States.

“For an entire year we've been practically in some form of restrictions and lockdown,” Aguirre said. “Missing that freedom and liberation is really starting to become overwhelming.”