Donato Greco, infectious disease specialist and member of the CTS: «It would be an excellent idea to have the infection bulletin become weekly. We are considering whether to talk to the government about it ». Bassetti and Undersecretary Costa also spoke in favor
Retire the daily bulletin of the Civil Protection on the progress of the pandemic in Italy and replace it with a weekly communication. There proposal would already be under discussion in the Technical and Scientific Committee (Cts). The infectious disease specialist and CTS member explained to Rai Radio1 Donato Greco, according to which it would be a “natural” transition. “We at the CTS are considering whether to talk to the government about it,” said Greco. Along the same lines too Matteo Bassetti, Head of Infectious Diseases at the San Martino Hospital in Genoa, who told Radio Cusano Campus: “We have to stop with the evening report: it says nothing and it is useless if not to put anxiety in people”.
According to Bassetti, the current bulletin “just makes us look bad in the eyes of the world”, also by virtue of the fact that counts as “hospitalized” all those who are in hospital and test positive for the swab, even if the reason they are there has nothing to do with the virus. “You can’t count as sick someone who has a broken arm and a positive tampon,” said the head of Infectious Diseases. Even the Undersecretary of Health Andrea Costa he proposed to his ministry to review the current reporting system, specifying that he had the support of his party (Noi conItalia). According to Costa, in the current situation it is “It is necessary to focus essentially on the data of hospitalizations and the employment of intensive care”. The undersecretary also spoke of the “uselessness of a daily report of infections”, because – in the current situation – the number of infections “in itself does not say anything”.
Among experts, not only in Italy, the debate on whether to change the metrics on the basis of which the trend of the epidemic is told has been ongoing for some time. Omicron, with its greater transmissibility, has caused infections to surge, but in countries where the vaccination rate is high – such as Italy – hospitalizations do not increase at the same rate. Consequently, according to some, the number of new positive cases would no longer be as decisive as it once was and could therefore be overshadowed.
The White House pandemic consultant, the immunologist Antony Fauci, stated that today “it is much more relevant to focus on hospitalizations than the total number of cases.” “If we bet everything on hospitalizations and deaths we risk being left behind compared to the trend of the epidemic », warns the virologist of the University of Milan Fabrizio Pregliasco, interviewed by Cristina Marrone of Health Courier
. “It is logical that we cannot stop counting the number of positive people, this is an indispensable epidemiological tool for insiders”, epidemiologist Paolo Bonanni explained to Marrone, and then specifies: “The absolute data of infections today is misleading e there is no correspondence between the absolute number of infections and what will happen in terms of hospitalizations and dead ».
When it comes to the bulletins, however, the question has more to do with the communication strategy of governments than with the data available to scientists. He also specifies it Roberto Battiston, physicist from the University of Trento, at Adnkronos: «I believe that today there are two needs to be kept together. The first is that the general public is bombarded with numbers and is often baffled and afraid, so you can think of issue the Covid bulletin every 2-3 days, preferably accompanied by a comment. But in the face of this, the data must always be available for the scientific community, the doubling times of Omicron cases are very fast and it is therefore necessary to have updated reports ».
On the other hand, the spread of the new variant and the success of vaccination campaigns is pushing many European countries to enter a new phase of managing the pandemic. Spain, for example, is considering the possibility of giving up tracking and confining those who test positive, while continuing to monitor the situation in some sample areas. Great Britain also seems willing to proceed in a similar direction.
During the last press conference, the Prime Minister Mario Draghi he said the government is addressing the spread of “highly contagious variants” with a “different from the past” approach: “We want to be cautious but also minimize the economic, social and youth effects,” he explained. The adoption of a new communication philosophy – based on a weekly and no longer daily bulletin – could be a piece of this new approach.
January 11, 2022 (change January 11, 2022 | 19:19)
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