Italy has shown the world how to deal with covid-19. The World Health Organization (WHO) praised the Italian authorities on Friday for “having reversed the trajectory of the epidemic with a series of science-based measures & rdquor ;. The recognition has been accompanied by a video that illustrates the brief history of the arrival of the virus in the country at the end of February, with images and testimonies of the people who have lived these seven months in the first line of hospitals and in the rear of the scientific laboratories.
The ‘Financial Times’ anticipated the praise two days earlier, a few hours before British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his nationals that “we get more contagious because we love freedom & rdquor ;. The President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, then said: “We Italians also love freedom, but we also love we attach importance to seriousness”.
The Italian recipe to face and delay the second wave of the virus is based in a strategy that includes tracking not only of the contacts that have had a positive, which is what other countries do, but also in doing the PCR on all the relatives, friends and colleagues of the infected person.
Behind this strategy that in English they call ‘network testing’ (and not the “contact tracing & rdquor; of other countries), is the virologist Andrea Crisanti. He was the scientist who, at the beginning of March, made “close & rdquor; the town of Vo ‘Euganeo, in the Veneto region (Venice), with only 3,500 inhabitants and the first source of contagion of that autonomy, Lombardy. After confinement, all the inhabitants were subjected to PCR, which made it possible to stop the spread of the infected, who were isolated, almost completely avoiding deaths.
Beyond the “first line & rdquor ;, in these months Italy has increased the ICU units from some 5,000 to 7,000, currently occupied by 20%, while in France, Israel and the city of Madrid they begin to reach saturation point .
The figure that guides the Higher Institute of Health (ISS), as it happens in other countries, is the percentage of infected per hundred thousand inhabitants. To date, the statistics indicate that they are 33, well below Spain (369), France (172.1), Portugal (71), Great Britain (61.8) and other countries (331 in Montenegro). In Germany it is 24.3.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Italy has had about 300,000 infected, almost 36,000 deaths and in the country there are currently about 2,000 outbreaks, more or less with partial closures. The end of the month is expected to verify the increase in positives as a result of the beginning of the school year on the 14th. Another piece of data screened daily is the average number of infections, which in Italy is about 1,000, while in other countries it reaches 10,000. From the ISS they report that it should not exceed 2,000 infections per 100,000 inhabitants and that the maximum limit, beyond which “national problems would arise & rdquor ;, should be 5,000.”
According to the virologist Crisanti “the infections are underestimated & rdquor ;, that is to say that there would be more than the statistics indicate. That said, it recognizes that the “Italian & rdquor; to stop covid-19 has some peculiar characteristics, as it does PCR tests on all relationships of a positive. It is “a system of concentric circles & rdquor ;, explains Crisanti.
If you go out on the outskirts of many cities or in some urban parks, you will find “drive-in & rdquor; centers. In the 60s he went by car to see a movie with girlfriend or friends and now they have become places where PCRs are carried out. Many students can take the test outside of schools. Hotels measure the fever to the customer who is about to enter and the same do many cinemas, theaters and restaurants, which write down the names and telephone numbers of customers.
There are always those who are too clever and provide the wrong names or phone numbers. Perhaps to avoid the planned fines. Or out of fear. The coronavirus is invisible and that is why it causes fear, as psychologists have reported for months. “People are scared & rdquor ;, repeat the family doctors.