A view of Saint John Lateran, Rome's cathedral, in the distance.
These have been very strange months. Nobody could have predicted at the end of 2019 when China reported its first cases of the coronavirus just how far-reaching the spread of the disease would be.
But on March 11 the World Health Organization announced that Covid-19 could be characterized as a pandemic.
On that same day I received an email from a priest friend in New York whose time at the North American College here in Rome overlapped with my time there in the mid-1980s.
He was writing to find out what the situation was in Italy, where we had just been put into lockdown after cases of infection started exploding in the north of the country. Mind you, the United States had barely been touched at that point.