It was March 4, 2021 and Giorgio Parisi, today awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics together with Syukuro Manabe ea Klaus Hasselmann, was the protagonist of a lively controversy with the infectious disease specialist Matteo Bassetti, during the transmission “The air that pulls” (La7). The scientist explained that the decline in infections in England it was due, first of all, to the restrictive measures and the lockdown and secondly to the vaccines, arousing the dissent of Bassetti, who a few minutes earlier had harshly criticized the vaccination campaign in Italy.
The physicist remarked: “I can read data, indeed my specialty is reading data. And the English data say something very clear, which is the opposite of what Dr. Bassetti said: the huge decrease in cases began before the vaccination campaign, which could not produce that drop by itself. The decrease in cases is due to the very tight lockdown that has been made. Now certainly the vaccination campaign can help and will help a lot for the reduction of cases ”. Parisi added that the Italian vaccination campaign, fiercely criticized by Bassetti, did not differ much from the German one.
Bassetti replied: “I respect your thought, but do patients treat them to physicists or doctors?“.
“No, I read the data – Parisi replied – Look, everyone is able to read the data“.
“We understood why the vaccination campaign in Italy goes like this – Bassetti retorted – There are some who think that in England only the lockdown was needed for the drop in cases. Well, take responsibility for it. The whole world says the opposite. I respect what a physicist says, but here on my desk I have two publications that talk about the extraordinary impact of vaccinations in England and Israel, but Dr. Parisi says exactly the opposite and argues that the merit is of the lockdown. So let’s not vaccinate and do lockdowns. This is the support and suggestion of a physicist“.
“No, I said something different,” Parisi pointed out.
“Maybe I didn’t hear right – Bassetti reiterated – You said that the impact was the lockdown and not the vaccines”.
“Here, he hasn’t heard right – commented the physicist – I said that the first reason for the decrease in the curve was the lockdown. This decline was then facilitated by the vaccine, but we cannot think that the decrease of a factor of 10 from the peak to the current values is due exclusively to vaccination. The vaccine is effective now, but it wasn’t there a month ago. And the cases decreased even a month ago “.
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