The Italian Higher Institute of Health says: “The (coronavirus) epidemic is in a delicate phase that seems the prelude to a new rapid increase in the number of cases in the coming weeks if strict restrictive measures are not defined. strong”. It is actually feared that the third wave is “ad portas” and that a phase even more disastrous than the other two will ensue.
The same study by the Institute states: “Reopening schools and completely reactivate social contacts without restrictive measures can determine an uncontainable epidemic wave.” This Friday, 17,533 infections and 620 deaths were registered. In total, deaths reach 77,911 people.
Experts point out that it is necessary to impose very rigorous quarantines and as long as possible to reduce the increase in those infected and the growing number of fatalities and regain control of the pandemic, by tracing the tracks of the cases. But this is only possible by “closing everything” in a large “red” zone, as was done in the 72 days that the quarantine imposed in March of last year lasted until May and which gave very good results.
The outlook is bleak in the rest of Europe and in Italy, it is feared that the third wave will be fueled disastrously by mutations of the virus, such as the “English variant” that devastates Great Britain.
Roberto Speranza announced the “orange” zone restrictions, inaugurated for the end of the year festivities, to five regions: Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Calabria, and Sicily.
Orange defines medium risks. The high risk is the “red” zone. No region falls into this category. None of the twenty into which Italy is divided has been marked with the red of the most rigid restrictions, such as the prohibition to leave the house, except in the neighborhoods. In all cases, the curfew continues throughout the country from 10 p.m. to 5 p.m., which has been in force since November.
The decision not to mark any region in red alarms a good part of the scientific experts, who have already pointed out that the government is too sensitive to pressure from the leaders of the regions and economic sectors affected by a closure “military hand” of businesses and centers of different activities that have been seriously affected by the virus locks.
The counselor of the Ministry of Health, Walter Ricciardi, negatively commented on the decision to reopen the elementary schools and those of the first years of secondary school on Thursday 7. On Monday the reopening will be completed with the students of the three years of upper secondary school, who by halves They may go back to the classroom or settle for following the classes online at the Didactica a Distancia.
“Thinking of reopening schools with twenty thousand cases of contagion a day does not make sense,” said Ricciardi. “The circulation of the virus is still intense and this teaches us that the measures must be coordinated and applied constantly. It is necessary to anticipate the virus, not to follow it. The current challenge is this ”.
Since November, the government has applied a plan that divides the regions into three levels colored according to the level of risk and applied the soft hand. The result is that so far the norms inspired by the 21 data on the behavior of each region with the pandemic have not yielded positive results. “The continuous alternation of closings and openings fails to reverse the epidemic curve. It does not produce lasting effects ”.
Quarantine at the right time
The government adviser Ricciardi warns that the measures to control the transgressions of the end of the year parties, a cycle that concluded on Wednesday 6, “will not be able to control the evolution of infections. It is necessary not to be too late to quarantines. They must be done at the right time. If it is too late, with such a high number of infected and dead, the quarantines will last much longer. Now reinforcement measures are promised, but I confess that I am very skeptical ”.
For his part, Professor Andrea Crisanti from the University of Padua, one of the most listened to by public opinion, said that “under current conditions, the third wave is a certainty. We are in a stable serious situation, which does not yield. A worrying winter awaits us. Italy will be the country with the most deaths in Europe. With the reopening of schools and productive activities, we offered a great opportunity for the virus and infections to break out. After the summer we had a situation under control and we let it escape ”.
The hope and anxiety of the Italians is focused on the acceleration of the mass vaccination campaign of the population promised by those in charge of the government. Italy is the leading country in the European Union. Today the mark of 420 thousand injected was surpassed. The European Union announced that another 300 million doses have been purchased from the North American-German Pfizer-Biontech, which is recording a similar figure for the first half.
The objective, said the commissioner for the government coronavirus emergency, Domenico Arcuri, said that the first dose is being given to 1.8 million health personnel, who form the first line of the hospital fight, and to the elderly in the homes resting.
“In February we will begin to vaccinate 4.4 million people over 80 years old, people with physical handicaps and their companions.” Then the operators of essential public services will be followed by the teaching and non-teaching staff “so that schools can function safely” and by law enforcement. Then the people over 60 and the rest of the population will follow.
Arcuri argues that “the resumption of the rate of infections is not yet dramatic, but we are concerned about the increase in the Rt index”, which measures the level of the virus’ infectivity.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Pierpaolo Sileri, said that the European authorization to Moderna and AstraZeneca laboratories will help to deploy the entire mechanism of mass vaccination in the coming months. “We need many more doses because a second dose has to be applied 21 days after the first.” If the supplies are not sufficient “we will reach the summer with only 20% of the population vaccinated.”
In the first quarter, Sileri pointed out, “we have to do 10 million injections, which means completing 5 million full vaccinations. This should allow us to reach the summer with 11 million cases resolved ”. The goal is to reach 65,000 daily vaccinations. Many believe that the numbers suffer from an excess of optimism because until now the hospital system is the scene of the savior punctures campaign.
The feared increase in infections would force doctors, nurses, and technicians to give priority to Covid 19 patients. The Gime Foundation, (La Fundación Gime) which monitors the progress of the pandemic, highlighted that in the first week of January the cases increased by 27%.
Eleven of the twenty regions have perforated the percentage of 30% of the intensive therapy beds, considered the level of security on which the alarms have started. The Rt index has broken above the 1.03 level and this is another bad sign. The level of positions occupied by coronavirus patients in pulmonology and infectious diseases, whose safety level is 40%, has also been exceeded by nine regions.
Italy already exceeds 2.2 million infected since the beginning of the pandemic.
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