In these times, while in several European countries the number of daily infected with covid-19 has increased considerably but in Italy it remains at contained levels, many wonder why these differences exist when Italy was one of the first countries to suffer the pandemic at the beginning of the year. Y authorities and experts agree that the application of prevention measures is the key.
If it’s figures, The worst country by number of daily infected turns out to be France, which on September 25 had 16,132 new cases in one day, according to official data. It is followed by Spain with 12,272 and Great Britain with 6,878. Italy is fourth in this order with 1,879 cases always on September 25, followed by Germany with 1,314 new cases on that date.
“The situation is worrying. In some countries of the European Union the increases are greater than in March. This means that the control measures adopted were not effective enough or are not applied or are not followed as they should be ”, said the European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides.
Speaking to a group of foreign journalists, Italy’s Deputy Minister of Health Pierpaolo Sileri, a surgeon and university professor, said: “We are much better because the rules that Italy has imposed are very rigid.” “We have started the lock down (blocking of all activities) earlier than other countries because the virus reached Italy earlier. But that application and its duration has helped contain the spread of the virus. Also the fact that activities (commercial, industrial, educational, etc.) have slowly resumed. Another important factor is the reaction of the Italians, since they have applied the rules: masks, personal distance and hand washing ”, in addition to not neglecting the symptoms and consulting the doctor, added the vice minister. An investigation carried out by the Imperial College of London indeed revealed, among other things, that 84% of Italians are “quite willing to use masks” while in Great Britain only 76%.
The deputy minister also said that the Italian government has invested 5,000 million euros in health in the period of the covid and plans to allocate another 20-25,000 million in the next 3-6 years for technologies, personnel and training, and thus prevent young people doctors and nurses go to work in other countries.
Stimulate responsibility and avoid crowds
Fortunato Paolo D’Ancona, medical epidemiologist who works for the National Center for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion of the Higher Institute of Health of Italy and who has closely followed the march of the coronavirus, spoke with PageI12 about this theme.
-According to you, why are there fewer cases of covid-19 in Italy than in other European countries at the moment?
-Even there is no total respect for the rules, even having “movida” (so called in Spain and in Italy the broad movement of young people who go to clubs and discos, ndr), even though there are crowds of people in tourist areas for example In any case, Italy has tried very hard to respect the rules. The Italian government has imposed the obligation of masks in closed places. It has never eliminated it as an obligation. Football stadiums are closed, discos are closed, crowds are prohibited. They exist anyway, but they are prohibited. Schools are reopening their doors with great attention. The government believes a lot in prevention measures. I see with great satisfaction the government’s commitment to listen to technicians and specialists on the subject and to invest financial resources in prevention. Just to give an example, every day 10 million masks are destined for students.
-But since Italy has an older population than many other European countries (according to official data, 23% of the Italian population is over 65 years old while in Spain just over 19% is over 64 years old), couldn’t you have this influenced the lower number of daily infections since the elderly do not go out as much, do not go to dance, do not go to bars and are more cautious because it was one of the sectors most affected at the beginning of the pandemic?
– It is possible that the elderly at this time have a much more cautious attitude. In fact, at the end of August and the first weeks of September (midsummer European, ed), we saw the average age of those infected drop a lot (around 35 years). Now the average age is increasing because clearly the infections transmitted by young people are beginning to have an effect on family members. Who has not taken precautions at the time of fun, has brought the covid to the bosom of the community and their families. We hope the situation remains stable. And that the cases are detected to carry out the corresponding epidemiological investigations and quarantine the contacts close to the infected person.
-Is there the possibility that the virus that circulates in Italy is different from the one that circulates in other countries and this influences the infections?
-This is not a sustained argument at the scientific level for now.
-Summer has been a difficult time of the pandemic because all the people wanted to go out, go to the beaches, the squares, the bars and they piled up everywhere. In Argentina summer is approaching. In your opinion, what are the protection rules that should not be avoided in any way?
–Distancing and wearing a mask firstr. This helps a lot. The greatest risk is in bars, restaurants, places of entertainment. On the one hand, the responsibility of each individual is required, that is, that each one is aware that these norms must be respected. But you also have to take measures to avoid crowding. A whole strategy is required from governments in this regard. You can’t just leave everything to the responsibility of the people. Having 10,000 or more new cases per day is enough to move the conscience. But sometimes you need to make other decisions. In Italy, for example, they are doing some lockdowns in higher risk areas, where each municipality is taking measures to avoid crowds.