While Coronavirus infections in Italy reach a new high, it is a dispute over data. Yesterday the bulletin of the Ministry of Health recorded over 220 thousand infections and almost three hundred deaths. And the World Health Organization has predicted that the Omicron variant will infect one in two European citizens in two months. But for the majority of those vaccinated today, the new variant is as lethal as the flu. For this reason there are those who propose to treat it as such, according to the same logic of Spain and the UK. As? For example, abolishing the daily bulletin and switching to at least a weekly count. Yesterday it was proposed by the head physician of San Martino di Genova Matteo Bassetti. Undersecretary for Health Andrea Costa and some members of the Scientific Technical Committee agreed.
The pandemic like a cold?
But there are those who say no. “We are not saying that it is better not to talk about the number of infected people every evening but it is more appropriate to communicate only the number of hospitalized patients. If these grew a lot they would become unsustainable for the health service and so we would have lost precious days trying to contain them. Prevention can, indeed must, be done on infections and not on hospitalizations. And so let’s not be blamed for the fact that many infected people have few symptoms, sometimes similar to those of a normal flu, ”said Cesare Cislaghi, professor of health economics and president of the Italian Society of Epidemiology yesterday. Republic explains today that vaccination makes the difference. Among the over 65s, Delta kills 5.4 out of 100 infected if not immunized. Omicron has a rate of 2.2%, again among the unvaccinated.
For the professor, we cannot say that the pandemic has become a cold: «We can only say that, thanks above all to vaccines, the frequency of serious outcomes has decreased and mostly concerns the unvaccinated. But let’s consider that even if lethality dropped to 0.5% and ICU accesses to 0.2%, and if the cases of positivity increased up to 500,000 per day, a hypothesis not entirely impossible, deaths would be 2,500 per day. and accesses to intensive care 1000 and, considering an average hospital stay of twenty days, there would be a presence of 20,000 seriously ill patients with the need to be hospitalized in intensive care and this situation would certainly not be sustainable with the existing structures “.
The situation of hospitals
Meanwhile, a study by Fiaso (Italian Federation of Healthcare and Hospitals) on the admissions of 6 large hospitals and healthcare companies says that 34% of the admissions of positives are not for Covid-19 but of patients who require healthcare for other pathologies and at the moment of the pre-admission swab are positive for Sars-CoV-2. The hospitals cited are Asst Civil Hospital of Brescia, Irccs San Martino Polyclinic Hospital of Genoa, Irccs Aou of Bologna, Tor Vergata Polyclinic, San Giuseppe Moscati Hospital of Avellino and Bari Polyclinic. According to Fiaso, one out of three patients, albeit with confirmed infection at Sars-CoV-2 virus is hospitalized to treat anything else: trauma, heart attacks, hemorrhages, decompensation, tumors.
The 550 patients hospitalized in the Covid areas of the six hospitals represent a sample equal to 4% of the total hospitalized in Italian hospitals. The survey was carried out on January 5. Fiaso explains that 363 (66%) are hospitalized with a diagnosis of lung infection. Instead 187 (34%) did not show clinical, radiographic and laboratory signs of lung involvement. That is, they were hospitalized not for the virus but with the virus. The diagnosis of Sars-CoV-2 infection is therefore occasional in these cases. For the overwhelming majority, 36% of the total positive patients but without respiratory symptoms, are pregnant women who need obstetric and gynecological assistance. Finally, 33% is made up of patients who have suffered a decompensation of the internal condition deriving from diabetes or other metabolic diseases, from cardiovascular, neurological, oncological diseases or chronic bronchopneumopathies.
“Inflated” data on hospitalizations and deaths
This therefore leads to “inflating” the data on hospitalizations and deaths. “We have departments occupied at 26%, but we would have them at 10% if we used different criteria. So it would be a normal January – Bassetti explained yesterday to the press agency Acted -. In fact, always in this winter month we had patients with flu and pneumonia in the ward. If we do not enter the new logic we will continue to be in an emergency. I appeal to Draghi to listen to the doctors a little more and the bureaucrats a little less ». Then the proposal: “We should take an example from the Americans, the British and the Spaniards.” Alberto Zangrillo, head of Anesthesia at San Raffaele, shares the same opinion: «The parameters should be changed. I have been saying this for about a year and a half and even more today that with the arrival of vaccines, Covid-19 has become a manageable respiratory disease. The Fiaso report goes precisely in this direction: many of the hospitalized are in hospital for quite another, but due to a positive buffer they are marked as ‘Covid’ “.