No positive among the passengers of the Boeing 787 arrived from Doha on November 12 with the Eni manager on board already infected, obviously without knowing it, by the variante Omicron. According to initial findings, it did not transmit the virus to the other 132 travelers, but as a precaution it should be added: this is currently the case, other investigations are underway. The Lazio Region tracked down about ten passengers residing in its territory, and all of them tested negative. The same result was achieved in other areas of the country, but it still takes time to get a complete picture.
The same scenario, at least according to the tests carried out so far, emerges for the passengers of the other plane on which the Caserta manager boarded: an Airbus 319 which took off from Naples and landed at Linate on 15 November. To date, therefore, there are four confirmed cases of Omicron in Italy: the manager who worked in Mozambique and who on the return trip passed through Johannesburg (South Africa), Doha (Qatar) and Fiumicino; his wife and two children. The manager’s mother and mother-in-law are also positive, but the viral load is so low, the Campania health authorities explained, that sequencing could not be performed. This first result – completely partial, let’s be clear – reassures: man has always used the mask when traveling, if he has not infected anyone it means that in any case the filters that ensure the exchange of air on airplanes and, in fact, the masks are a form of precaution that also works with the Omicron variant.
It must be said that part of the 133 passengers on the plane from Doha did not stop in Italy, at Fiumicino they had another connecting flight to foreign destinations, so it will be difficult to trace them. In summary: in Italy there are currently four cases of Omicron, all from the same family unit; on a European basis there are at least forty, new reports arrived yesterday from the United Kingdom and Spain.
All experts are convinced that the new variant in Europe has been present for several weeks, before South African scientists identified it. Blocking arrivals from Southern African countries can slow down the spread, certainly not avoid it. According to the WHO, the variant represents a high risk, but no deaths have yet been reported. At the same time, to date Ecdc (the agency of the European Union) also notes that no serious cases or deaths have been found among the infected Omicron registered in the EU territory. The numbers, however, are so low that they cannot do statistics, what worries most about Omicron is the speed of diffusion: it is higher than the Delta, although scientists agree that, just like the other variants, the use of masks and distancing help us. And the first findings, starting from the case of the Caserta manager who was immunized (as were his wife, mother and mother-in-law) confirm that vaccines protect against serious illness: only mild symptoms are reported for the Campania family.
This concept was reiterated by Professor Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Institute of Pharmacological Research in Milan, who spoke at Palazzo Lombardia on the live Facebook “Stop the doubts”, promoted by Guido Bertolaso: “Shabir Madhi, the” Fauci of South Africa ” , the best virologist in that country, has been at work since 11 November and has informed us that, based on the scientific evidence in his possession, the new Omicron variant will not be able to escape the vaccine “. And Professor Sergio Abrignani, immunologist and member of the Technical Scientific Committee, told SkyTg24: “What we expect is that probably, as with the Delta variant, for Omicron there will be a decrease in efficacy in protecting against infection but a good protection from a severe disease: we have to wait to see, in the next fifteen days, what the data will tell us in the field. The other thing we don’t know is whether it induces a more severe disease than the Delta. According to some, no, but the data in South Africa refer both to a very young population, with an average age of 58, and to those vaccinated for more than six months ».
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