For places like Seattle, New York, and Lombardy, Italy the catastrophic effects of the virus have been documented in real time and have been documented extensively. Most people at the very least know somebody in these areas who has either been seriously affected or know somebody who is infected with the virus, such is the magnitude of the spread.
Italy experienced a massive spike in cases and for the moment seems to have passed its peak. To get to the proverbial other side though, at the time of writing, Italy had to experience a horrifying 29,684 deaths.
In their hour of maximum danger, in their hour of greatest need since World War II, Italians were pleading with Brussels and the top brass of the EU to come to Italy’s aid. After all, the EU was a family and wouldn’t let one of their own just go down in flames, right? Wrong.
Much like the unbelievably ineffective and harm-inducing draconian measures of economic austerity imposed on Greece during the past decade, the EU, once again, got it wrong. By its own admission, the EU acted too slowly and the actions that they did take were laughably underwhelming. The EU showed one of Europe's biggest economies that when push comes to shove they cannot trust Brussels to come up with big picture policies to save its member states.
The European Union could not have picked a worse time to continue their falling short of its own founding ideals than just after the United Kingdom. The UK lamented that the EU was an ineffective organization that caused more harm than good and concluded that they were better off alone. Following the blunders of supply chain breakdowns, not enough personal protective equipment, and lack of meaningful aid provided to Italy, who is to say that Italy, when this is all over, will want anything to do with the EU? Furthermore, can you blame them if they decided that the union was no longer meaningful as it is currently constituted? Would the EU be able to survive the United Kingdom and, potentially, Italy also leaving within a, say, three year span?
Europe has a lot of soul-searching to do – as does much of the rest of the world, after COVID-19 – and it will take a lot of groveling and sincere apologies to the Italian people, backed by actions, for the EU to win back their confidence.