“In October we will not be in the conditions of last year. Thanks to the vaccines, the prospects are better. But now that the obligation to wear a mask in the open air has been removed, we must be cautious, especially in crowded situations”. Danilo Tacconi is the head of Infectious Diseases of the San Donato hospital in Arezzo and takes stock of the spread of the coronavirus infection in Aretino, in light of the first cases of delta variant in the area. It calls for caution, without alarmism. “You need to be aware: the virus is not eradicated,” he adds.
The delta variant, what was originally called Indian, has arrived in the province. There are confirmed cases in Valdarno and in the past few hours, you have supported the importance of vaccination in countering its most deleterious effects. What are the characteristics of this mutation?
“It has a higher transmission rate than the other variants, on average 60%. Basically, we get infected faster. The greatest damage is caused in contexts with fewer people who have had a full vaccination course.”
Is it more dangerous than other variants?
“The disease behaves like the others, it does not seem to be particularly serious in effects. And so we also see that, where this type of variant is circulating more but the population has been exposed to previous waves or vaccinated – as in Great Britain – hospitalizations and deaths remain low, despite the number of infected. And it is thanks to the vaccine. Those who have completed the vaccination cycle, as frail and elderly, are largely protected from contagion. Adults who have received at least one dose are protected from greater risks, even if they have the possibility of getting infected. Young people are left out, but they are the least prone to complications “.
How to counteract the spread?
“Accelerating with vaccinations, compatibly with the technical times dictated by the availability of supplies. Reducing the times between first and second doses, which had previously been lengthened. We cannot talk about programming errors, attention: here we are trying to fight the virus day after day. Sars-Cov-19 adapts, changes to bypass the vaccine protections. And if a few months ago it was important to make as many first doses as possible to protect more people from the forms of the virus we knew previously, with the appearance of the delta variant it would be good to complete as many vaccination cycles as possible, quickly. With Pfizer the protection remains at 70%, as for Moderna, while with Astrazeneca and Johnson it is lower. We should return, having adequate supplies, to 21 days for the recall, instead of 42 “.
There are also those who do not want to do the vaccine, moreover.
“And this is a problem. Unfortunately, it would be necessary to raise awareness especially those Over 60 who are reluctant, because they are more at risk than other categories. And there are many who do not want to get vaccinated. Fortunately, in Aretino we are below the national average in terms of reluctant “.
How is the delta variant recognized?
“It differs for some types of ailments. The Covid we are used to causes problems with smell and taste. This variant is less annoying to smell and taste and behaves like a cold. There are nasal symptoms, sneezing”.
Are the precautions the usual?
“We always wear the mask indoors and outdoors in crowded places. In a context such as a fair, a market, I would wear the mask. It must be done every time there is a reduction in social distancing. And then hygiene of the hands: it is fundamental “.
For next autumn, despite the delta variant, the outlook is better than a year ago. It’s correct?
“I would say yes. In the fall, 80% of the population will be vaccinated with at least one dose. If the virus continues to circulate, it will do less damage than 12 months ago.”
How does it come out? Will a third dose of vaccine be needed?
“People who have fallen ill or who have been vaccinated are protected from complications, this is the important thing. It is essential to avoid hospitalizations, which in severe cases lead to deaths. Another variant cannot be ruled out, at which point it could be possible. be necessary to do a third dose, perhaps modified according to the evolution of the virus. And administer it first of all to immunosuppressed or frail people. A scenario then, but this is my idea, could be to do serological tests to assess the presence of antibodies in people. Those who have few, could access the third dose. But they are future prospects, linked to variants. We will see “.