Covid, are we out of the emergency? Virologists: “Precautions must be taken”

Covid, are we out of the emergency? Virologists: “Precautions must be taken”
Covid, are we out of the emergency? Virologists: “Precautions must be taken”

The race of the virus continues to slow down. According to data processed by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, in the week from 24 to 30 May the Rt index fell to 0.68 (the previous week it was 0.72), while the incidence stands at 36 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. (up from 51). Yesterday’s Civil Protection Bulletin confirms the downward trend: 2,257 new cases out of 220,939 swabs, the positivity rate is 1.15%, 73 deaths. From 7 June 4 regions (Abruzzo, Liguria, Umbria and Veneto) will pass into the white zone. From mid-June, it should then touch all the others. To determine the slowdown of the epidemic, experts explain, there are actually several factors. In the meantime, it is important not to let our guard down, so as not to find ourselves in September with a new rise in cases.

Brusaferro: “From the second half of June almost all of Italy will be a white zone”

Summer ally

“Surely seasonality has a significant weight – explains Saverio Parisi, Professor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Padua – Let’s not forget that last year in this period we had 35 thousand deaths, a very consistent number which we reached after three months of epidemic . There was a big drop in the summer. Then we went from 40 thousand dead last October to 120 thousand the following winter. Basically, the May-June 2020 numbers are comparable for now to the current ones ». In short, summer can be a good ally. “There is an element that plays against the spread of the infection, namely the open air – underlines Francesco Menichetti, professor of infectious diseases in Pisa – The virus spreads 17-18 times less than indoors”.

Covid Italy, bulletin today 4 June: 2,557 new cases and 73 deaths. The infections in Tuscany, Veneto, Umbria, Abruzzo, Piedmont, Emilia, Campania

The difference

“We cannot make comparisons with last year because they are two different endemic situations – said Massimo Ciccozzi, director of Medical Statistics and Molecular Epidemiology of the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome – In 2020 we came out of a very tight lockdown. But the difference is, we have vaccines this year. It was not foreseeable that we would go so well with prophylaxis, but Commissioner Figliuolo’s plan worked very well. So we have a great advantage ». But we must aim to immunize everyone. «If we continue to administer 500-600 thousand vaccines a day – remarks Menichetti – we will prepare ourselves for a more favorable beginning of the school year and autumn. We are on the threshold of the white zone. The progressiveness of the measures is paying off, also favored by the vaccination campaign ». But attention is needed. “Otherwise we could find ourselves like England, which preferred to encourage the first dose. We, on the other hand, have focused on completing the vaccination and we must continue to do so. Because the less the virus circulates, the less there is the danger of the spread of variants ».

The elderly knot

“Surely the decline in infections and deaths is also due to the fact that we have learned to protect the elderly and the frail – Parisi specifies – We vaccinated them. And we have also protected them by vaccinating health workers ». «It is indubitable that the vaccine effect is manifesting itself above all in the protection of the most fragile – explains Menichetti – but it is not over yet. Let’s not forget that General Figliuolo has again reported that there are 2 million over 60s who are missing from the roll call. And this is an important element that needs to be resolved. The open days are welcome, the vaccination opening to younger decades, but the key to free hospitals and not occupying the cemeteries even more is to protect the most fragile, that is, the elderly and the vulnerable ». «In this phase, in addition to speeding up the vaccination – warns Fabrizio Pregliasco, researcher of Hygiene at the University of Milan – we should proceed to a more consistent tracing. Otherwise, as in September last year, there is a risk of a new surge in cases. We must avoid a rising wave, paying attention to the spread of variants. Let’s not forget that with the Indian one the risk of being hospitalized is 2.6 times greater. We therefore need a progression in the openings, so that the cases not traced so far do not quickly lead us to a resurgence of infections in the autumn ». Meanwhile, Ciccozzi suggests, “let’s proceed on the basis of the available data. Surely at the end of the summer we will breathe even more and better. We must have a cautious optimism, we are on the right path, let’s continue like this ».

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