On March 9, 2020, Italy’s government ordered the entire country into lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. No one is allowed outside except briefly, for exercise, groceries, or medicine. In northern Italy, which has been hardest hit, movement has been restricted for a couple of days longer; a few virus hotspots have been restricted for a little over three weeks. The first infection was detected among tourists at the end of January; the first Italian case was diagnosed on Feb. 21. As of March 16, just under 138,000 people have been tested in Italy, 23,000 are currently infected with the virus, 2,750 are believed to have recovered from an infection, and just over 2,150 have died.Despite the startling speed with which covid-19 has spread, Italians have adapted very quickly and comprehensively. What’s happening in Italy may tell us a lot about how social norms and political practices adapt in a crisis — and what may happen afterward.Italians are changing how they behave in publicBoth popular mythology and some political science suggest Italians (especially southern Italians) are less inclined to obey the law, comply with social norms or think of the public good. In 1958, Edward C. Banfield,


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