Memphis family who was living in Italy during COVID-19 lockdown shocked by second surge in US

TENNESSEE — A Memphis family who was living in Italy during the COVID-19 lockdown is back in Tennessee and they’re shocked by the staggering number of new cases every day.

“We got back to the states and it feels like we left one hot zone to another hot zone,” said Charlie Worthy who is a born and bred Memphian.

Have questions about the spread of coronavirus? We have an entire section dedicated to coverage of the outbreak. CLICK HERE for more.

Back in March, Italy was the epicenter for the pandemic and now the United States has the most cases in the world with more than 4 million cases.

When FOX13 first interviewed Worthy, the three-month lockdown in Italy was just beginning and he warned Americans to take the precautions seriously.

“The mistakes that we made in Italy, I pray the world doesn’t make, I pray Memphis doesn’t make them,” said Worthy on March 23.

Original Story: Memphian under COVID-19 lockdown in Italy warns Mid-South to listen to precautions

Four months later, Worthy and his family relocated to Nashville but the tables have turned.

The entire country of Italy reported less than 300 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, while there’s an average of 300 or more new cases a day in Shelby County alone.

“The funny thing is all my friends in Italy are enjoying the country without any international tourists this year and they’re very concerned about us and there’s seeing this and saying you need to come back to Italy where it’s safe, you need to come home,” said Worthy.

Because of what they went through in Italy, Worthy said his family knows what kind of sacrifice it takes to slow the spread.

Related: Coronavirus: Shelby County safety measures for residents, businesses and schools

“The extreme measures we took in Italy actually worked and I know it’s difficult for anybody to take extra measures and that fact that the cases are so high here, it’s hard for me to understand the sacrifices that haven’t been made,” he said.

During the lockdown in Italy, Worthy said his two oldest daughters were stuck at boarding school in Germany. Now they’ve been reunited and they’re staying in Tennessee for the next year so the two daughters can start college.

“I really hope it gets better,” he said. “I really, that’s my hope and prayer just so we can all enjoy some sort of normalcy.”

Worthy said this is a temporary move and they plan to return to Italy next year. But in the meantime, he is trying to get back home to Memphis to get some BBQ.