Faced with the coronavirus, Italy is struggling with the “devil’s alternative”: health or economy?

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The avalanche of daily cases continues. The measures so far have not worked. But the government is reluctant to apply quarantines as in March.

The Italian government recognizes that the situation is “serious” due to the avalanche of thousands of coronavirus infections, which this Monday registered 9,338 new infections and 73 deaths, with a total of 36,547 deaths. But the prime minister announced on Sunday night, new light measures to contain the plague that they look insufficient, refusing to apply forceful quarantines.

In a sea of ​​controversies, which include those who denounce that Giuseppe Conte does not solve the “alternative of the devil” between prioritizing public health at serious risk or the economy. The productive apparatus will sink if it must be applied a generalized confinement such as the 72-day one that, between March and May, saved the country from the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic at the price of a 10% drop of national wealth, from which it is recovering better than the other countries of the Old Continent.

On Sunday for the fifth consecutive day of daily records, the epidemic continued to grow exponentially and reached 11,705 newly infected in 24 hours with 69 more deaths. There are 7,131 people in hospitals, with 750 in intensive care wards. It was reported that 181 doctors have died since February, when the epidemic began and that there are 126,237 infected patients, the majority isolated in their homes.

Lombardy, the worst hit in the first wave of the virus, is still the most affected region with 2975 cases on Sunday and 21 deaths.

In Milan, the rich metropolis of northern Italy, the situation worsened with 1,463 infected in 24 hours. The danger of a saturation of Milanese hospitals that could occur in November begins to worry. The hospital that operated at the former Milan Fair during the first wave of the pandemic is about to reopen.

Broad sectors were skeptical about the ability to face the epidemic without applying the drastic purge of a quarantine that immobilizes the country, forcibly containing the spread of the virus, although with great economic damage. The most influential scientist, the Professor Veneto virologist Andrea Crisanti, caused a stir a few days ago by stating that it was going to be necessary a quarantined Christmas to “do a system reset”. Today Crisanti raised the popular anguish.

He stated: “I was an optimist talking about the quarantine for Christmas. I believe that the need for strong containment measures is immediate because the epidemic runs wild

“The numbers we see are a mess. We must lower the contagion curve and once we do we must keep the curve down, “he said.

Crisanti was the author of the tracking system with swabs and other sanitary means of the traces of infections, which in his Veneto region saved many lives. But now he recognizes that “containment measures are useless without an organic plan that keeps the number of infections low. We can’t go another six months with the quarantine system. For once I was optimistic and was denied by reality, “he recalled.

“I expected that the infected would grow gradually, not that the territorial system of contrast and tracing of cases would collapse so fast. The system does not work ”.

The second wave began suddenly at beginning of October. From a thousand cases a day, it went to the current eleven thousand, with a parallel growth in deaths, admissions to intensive care and hospital beds.

Given the true danger of collapse, hospitals are already reconverting their structures, evacuating non-urgent areas and passing doctors, nurses and health personnel to deal only with the pestilence.

The prime minister first announced a financial maneuver of 40 billion euros to face economic emergencies and then a package of measures to “face the new wave of infections.” Giuseppe Conte said it was necessary to avoid a generalized quarantine.

The decisions disappointed those who hoped for imaginative and effective actions, for example to contain spillovers in the public transport system, where millions of Italians they pile up every day when they go to work or school on buses, trains, trams and subways packed at peak times.

The most striking and controversial measure was the decision announced by Conte to empower mayors and other local authorities to dispose of in their areas curfews starting at 9 pm in the streets and squares in order to prevent the crowds of people from the so-called movida, a youth nightmare so far impossible to control.

The president of the more than eight thousand Italian mayors, Antonio Decaro, accused the government of “Download all” on the backs of local governments, which do not have the mission of taking care of public order. The government was quick to try to get the mayors out of the way and said it was the prefects (government representatives) who would control the cases.

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