The epidemiologist Stefania Salmaso at Fanpage.it on infections and the effect of returning to school: “The general curve does not increase because the vast majority of Italians over 12 are vaccinated. But we are observing an increase in cases in elementary school children, therefore in subjects between the ages of 6 and 10, especially in Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Tuscany and Puglia ”.
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“The general curve of the contagion it remains low because, despite the reopening of schools, the vast majority of adult Italians are vaccinated. But it is also true that we are witnessing an increase in cases especially among children aged between 6 and 10 years, therefore of elementary, and in that 3-5 in some regions in particular. “To speak is Stefania Salmaso, member of the Italian Association of Epidemiology which has long directed the National Center for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion of the Higher Institute of Health (Iss), which Fanpage.it explained why the effect reopening of schools there has not been on the epidemiological curve compared to last year, but we cannot yet claim victory.
Dr. Salmaso, what is happening in terms of infections?
“The contagion curve is currently very contained. Above all, those who are keeping the incidence values low are adults. So there is no doubt that in this reading the vaccination. In other words, the general curve does not increase because the vast majority of Italians over 12 are vaccinated. But looking at what is happening in the individual age groups in the various regions, we see that in many the incidence of infection in elementary school children, therefore in subjects between 6 and 10 years old, is slightly increasing, so as in the 3-5 year range “.
Which regions are you talking about?
“We are talking about regions likeEmilia Romagna, the Veneto, the Tuscany and the Puglia, where there is a slight more frequent value than in the previous weeks, especially among children who go to school in elementary and sixth grade. Obviously we are talking about a segment of the population in which vaccination has not necessarily had any effect, having not yet been approved by the regulatory bodies. While last year there was a trigger by schools, even if it has not been fully demonstrated, but certainly there was a circulation especially among young adults, therefore between 19 and 24 years, today this range, which evidently she has been vaccinated to a large extent, she has greatly reduced her susceptibility and is not affected by the circulation which instead persists in school-age children “.
Are there any outbreaks in this age group?
“It is difficult to say if there are outbreaks at the moment, it is not easy to identify them. We do not have data on the extent and location of any epidemic outbreaks, but it is clear that when we see that the incidence increases in the age group 6-10 years we can think that both closeness in school and out of school has played a role, since they too resume an almost normalcy “.
Iss and the Ministry of Education have changed the rules on the quarantine which is also eliminated in elementary and sixth grade. What do you think?
“An earlier swab analysis is introduced. Before it was automatically placed in quarantine. When there were many infections it is clear that the whole diagnostic apparatus was reserved for the most important cases. And therefore there was a tendency not to clog the request for investigations. Now that there are fewer cases, however, we can afford to immediately recommend to take a test and immediately verify the presence around the identified case of other people who are infected. This way we avoid that entire classes end up in isolation whole, now the infected people are immediately identified, freeing those who are negative. So I give a positive judgment “.
How serious are the current cases among children?
“We have no data other than those published by the ISS, but they are cumulative. Let’s say that since the beginning of the pandemic the unavailability of numbers to be able to make further analyzes weighs heavily. We know in principle, however, that young people have a less severe clinical manifestation. of adults. So much so that at the beginning it was even thought that children didn’t even get Covid, because we only went to look for symptomatic cases “.
School in the presence, therefore, and the beginning of the winter period which favors respiratory infections. What scenario to expect for the next few weeks?
“I believe that the situation will remain under control if the tests are implemented. The idea of making earlier investigations than last year’s quarantine is also aimed at being able to distinguish what will be flu episodes that we may have compared to Sars infections. Cov-2. We have already isolated two flu viruses in Italy, and in two children. Since we are starting to have a little social life again, always with some caution, if the flu circulates again there will be many clinical manifestations that they could be similar to those of Covid but we could immediately identify them thanks to tracking “.