The epidemic curve has been declining for 11 consecutive weeks and “from mid-April the deaths have also been steadily decreasing, which in the last week averaged just over 100 per day” explains Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation who from last year it carried out an independent weekly monitoring of the coronavirus in Italy. From the data it emerges that gthanks to the increased vaccination coverage, in just two months the over 60 hospitalized for the consequences of the coronavirus have collapsed both in ordinary departments (-79%) that in intensive care (-74%). «The data attest to the success of the“ reasoned risk ”, but a shared strategy between the regions and the government is needed – adds Cartabellotta -. In the first place, the modification of the criteria for assigning colors to the Regions that today discourage the Regions to test and resume tracing: for example, a standard of swabs could be given per 100 thousand inhabitants. over 3.3 million people over 60 at high risk of hospitalization and death who have not even received the first dose of the vaccine: new strategies must be identified to immunize them, such as direct calls or dedicated open days ».
The monitoring reveals in the week 26 May-1 June, compared to the previous one, a decrease of 27% of new cases (22,412 against 30,867) and of 28% of deaths (720 vs 1,004). Currently positive cases (225,751 against 268,145) and people in home isolation (218,570 against 258,265) also decreased by 15%. On the hospital front, hospitalizations with symptoms fell by 27% (6,192 against 8,557) and intensive care by 25% (989 against 1,323) in one week. The decline in new weekly cases is confirmed in all Regions, with the exception of a percentage increase in Molise, which is irrelevant in absolute value.
More and more free hospitals
“Thanks to the vaccination coverage of the elderly and the frail – he says Renata Gili, by Gimbe– continues on progressive emptying of the ospedali. The occupation of the Covid beds nationwide stands at 10% in the medical area and11% in intensive care, with all the Regions under the alert thresholds ». In detail, from the peak of April 6, the number of beds occupied in the medical area fell from 29,337 to 6,192 (-78.9%) and those in intensive care from 3,743 to 989 (-73.6%). intensive – explains Marco Mosti of Gimbe – they have been coming down for 9 weeks with one moving average which stands at 36 entries per day».
The two critical issues: testing and sequencing
In this phase of decreased circulation of the virus and easing of pressure on hospitals, however, two critical issues emerge: the reduction of testing activity, and the regional heterogeneity in the activity of sequencing. In the first case, the number of people who every week undergo the test, stable until the first ten days of May, is reduced by a third in the last 3 weeks: from 662,549 to 439,467 (-33.7%). And in the same period, an average of 120 people / day per 100,000 inhabitants were tested, with molecular or antigenic swabs, with clear regional differences: from 199 in Lazio to 49 in Puglia. “Unfortunately – explains Cartabellotta – the criteria for conquering and maintaining the white zone, introduced with the decree of 18 May, they discourage the Regions to enhance testing activitiesand resume tracking, just at the moment when the numbers of the infection would allow the use of a weapon that has never been adequately used “. Finally, as regards sequencing, the ISS certifies that in the period 28 December 2020-19 May 2021, 1.11% (23,170) of positive cases were sequenced. Since February, over 1,000 weekly cases have been sequenced, in line with ECDC standards, albeit with very heterogeneous regional performances: from 6.05% in Abruzzo to 0.09% in Piedmont. Cartabellotta – does not allow to identify the most contagious variants until after the increase in cases, nor to adapt vaccination strategies if necessary. For example, on the 20-60% more contagious delta (Indian) variant, the efficacy of a single dose of vaccine on symptomatic disease is around 33% for both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, while after the complete cycle it rises respectively to 88% and 60% “.
As of June 2 they result delivered 39,958,409 doses, equal to 52,4% than those foreseen for the first semester. “Despite the increase in deliveries in the last week – explains Cartabellotta – to comply with the supplies envisaged by the vaccination plan by the end of June, 36.3 million doses are still missing, an unrealistic number, as we have been saying for weeks”. In fact, Commissioner Figliuolo announced that in June the Regions will receive over 20 million doses, a quantity that would close the quarterly final balance of supplies with about 15 million doses less than expected.
As of June 2, 40.3% of the population received at least one dose of vaccine (23,852,541) e 20.7% completed the vaccination cycle (12,294,543). Considering that the Regions are using almost all the doses available, failure to take off deliveries conditions the number of administrations, now stable for a couple of weeks, with the media mobile to 7 days it reached 500 thousand inoculations per day.
The weak groups
L’81, 5% of over 60s received at least the first dose of vaccine, with some regional differences: if Puglia, Umbria, Lazio, Lombardy, Veneto and Molise exceed 85%, Sicily still remains below 70%. In particular, of the more than 4.4 million Over 80, 3.736.001 (83.4%) completed the vaccination course and 386,742 (8.6%) received the first dose only. Of the more than 5.9 million in the age range 70-79 years, 2.109.513 (35.4%) completed the vaccination course and 2,884,265 (48.4%) received the first dose only. Of the 7.3 million people in the range 60-69 years, 2.136.231 (28.7%) have completed the vaccination cycle e 3.325.680 (44.7%) received the first dose only. As for frail subjects and their caregivers, the data are no longer available .. «While istart to increase coverage in the age groups 50-59 and 40-49 years – Gili specifies – there are still over 3.3 million over 60s at high risk of hospitalization and death who have not even received the first dose of vaccine ». More precisely, 8% of the over 80s (357,683), 16.3% of the 70-79 age group (971,466) and 26.6% of the 60-69 age group (1,979,297).