CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A 24-year-old Charlotte woman stuck in Italy as the city is on lockdown due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
More than 31,000 cases have been reported in the city, just Tuesday officials reported 475 deaths in a 24-hour span.
Rebecca Ross uses three words to describe her experience during the lockdown.
“Isolation, loneliness and chaos,” said Ross.
The Lincoln High School graduate moved to Italy in December after being accepted into the number one fashion school in the world, the Milano Fashion Institute.
At the end of February, the virus forced Italy to go under quarantine, at the time Rebecca didn’t think the coronavirus was a big deal.
“I saw it as a funny meme,” she said. “ I saw It as jokes on Facebook and Instagram.”
She quickly learned this disease is no laughing matter. Last Monday, Italy officials ordered a lockdown.
If Rebecca leaves her apartment for reasons other than a medical emergency or to grab groceries, her freedom is at risk.
“You could be fined or incarcerated if you’re out walking the streets without a proper pass or permit,” said Rebecca.
Rebecca said being in isolation has taken a toll on her mentally.
“All my roommates are gone,” she said. “ I haven’t spoken to English to someone in person in about 2 weeks now.”
Rebecca is now urging all United States citizens to take the coronavirus seriously, especially young people who continue to party and travel to beaches.
“It’s chaotic. You never know what could happen,” said Rebecca.
Rebecca has been in contact with the US Embassy, who communicates with Italian officials before she leaves her home. While President Trump has issued a travel ban stopping flights from Europe, Rebecca can still come home since she is a US citizen, but still, it is difficult to do so.
“There is no way to get to the airport, all the transportation is shut down,” she said.
“I’m just going to ride this out,” Ross said.
MORE STORIES ON WCNC.COM: