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"I'm Speaking to You from the Future" of COVID-19

People who live in already-affected areas share their advice with those who are just starting to feel the effects.

Photo of Kat Khoo Hill
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While the information from the CDC and other such organizations has been informative, people generally have difficulty judging risk without concrete examples. The video by the Atlantic showing Italians (who are roughly 10-days ahead of the U.S. in the spread of the virus) giving advice to themselves 10-days ago gives concrete meaning to all the terms the CDC is using, like "social distancing" and "self-quarantine." They share their very natural response of not taking the warning seriously at first and the resulting impact to their country, their friends, family and neighbors. Their warning connects human-to-human rather, reminding you why it matters to take the steps that may seem unnecessary at the moment. 

My friend also forwarded me a message from her Italian friend, asking us to take it all seriously. She shared how they initially underestimated the spread, taking the school closures as a holiday and had play dates and took ski trips. And then she described what life currently looks like--only going outside very briefly for necessities, limits on the number of people in grocery stores, etc. She balances the small inconveniences of social distancing with the impact of not being willing to change our lifestyle. 

Upload or share a link to this resource/message/source of information to share it with others.

Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

I took social distancing more seriously and canceled several events. I'm now making decisions on when to leave home based on how much I needed that thing. I pushed harder for my manager to let me work from home (I work as a non-clinical consultant in a hospital). 

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

I texted friends so it was more personal.

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • News: Digital
  • WHO (World Health Organization)
  • Word of Mouth
  • Employer

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

People who are living on the street / experiencing homelessness. They may not have access to information nor ways to take the advice given. 

People that live in close proximity without choice: nursing homes, prisons, immigration centers where people are detained, etc. What actions can they take to stay safe since social distancing is not possible?

What is your current profession?

Innovation & Design Lead for a healthcare organization

In what city are you located?

Los Angeles

In what country are you located?

United States


Join the conversation:

Photo of Madalyn Bates

Kathy Khoo Hill I love your point about texting this to individual friends so it was more personal. Did you get a lot of replies back about it? Did you see it change their behavior as well?

Photo of Kat Khoo Hill

Hi Madalyn Bates  - I didn't text a ton of people about it (10 people), but the people I did all responded and changed their behavior. They had been going out rather casually and some were even planning events. Once I sent this around, it definitely sobered people up. They canceled events, told me they were going to shelter in place and stopped thinking of this as mere inconvenience. One person who had previously said, "I'm going to keep go to the gym. I've got to live my life!" decided to not go after all. I was grateful because the video made my point without me having to get preachy or be perceived as overly cautious or paranoid.