Since the end of the lockdown, the Covid-19 curve has been on a constant decrease in Italy. In early July, the daily average is less than 200 newly infected and a few dozen deceased, with an overall number of ICU patients lower than that which, in the previous months, was recorded every day. Seemingly another world compared to the thousands of covid-positives and the record of deaths reported by the Civil Protection bulletins between early March and the end of April, when people would watch the evening news in front of the TV, the country experienced a comparable collective mourning to that of the last war.
At least on this all observers agree. Italy is out of the emergency, but lowering the guard and returning to life like before is a question that is splitting the scientific community in two and confusing the public at large. Curiously, both factions quote data deriving from the scientific method, in support of their theses, but since the conclusions are different, the suspicion is that the observation of phenomena according to the scientific method inaugurated by the likes of Newton and Galileo, is not always capable of giving us reliable facts due to human variables, which leads to not so conclusive results unlike the assumed theory it should be for all other data that has been validated with this method.
How else can we logically reconcile the likes of Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele ICU, a Milan based hospital, who tells us that covid-19 as we know it, is “clinically dead”, against the outspoken opinion of epidemiologists such as Andrea Crisanti, full professor at the University of Padua, for whom the problem of contagion is far from resolved due to the presence of asymptomatic subjects. These are subjects who, despite the absence of clinical manifestations, are able to transmit the virus. The asymptomatic population, free to circulate without protective measures, risk causing sudden clusters to burst out which, if not extinguished promptly, would lead to a second wave of contagions no less dangerous than the first. This hypothesis, which Zangrillo’s associates consider no longer viable, because the viral load found in the new swabs is so low that it does not constitute a danger outside of low viral intensity infections and very modest clinical danger. So, for all those who still get sick and end up in intensive care, how do they explain the likes of these patients? According to the “partisans” of the weakened virus, these are patients with severe comorbidities, because of which the virus has little or no responsibility for the precipitation of their clinical conditions. Yet the history of virology teaches us that to let down our guard just because the virus is supposedly becoming less and less dangerous can be a dangerous strategy, which could lead straight to a loosening of defenses (masks and social distancing) as a result of which anything can happen.
The general impression is that we want and need the surgeons and specialists to return to their normal jobs, treating cancer and cardiologist patients, whose waiting lists have stretched out of proportion during the long coronavirus focused period. Due to the arrears accumulated during the lockdown, virologists are less likely to return to making statistical projections of upcoming viral threats until they have funded all probabilities triggered by Covid-19. To make matters worse, as long as countries such as the United States and Brazil have record breaking new infections exceeding the last every day, where the means of personal protection, social distancing and lockdown were only partial, the problem is still far from having a real solution. Especially since what is happening in these States is still in the grip of Covid, it remains likely to reappear in countries like Italy and the rest of European countries that have had a more virtuous approach. All it would take is reopening the borders to let out a Pandora’s box on the countries who have seemingly “recovered” from the worst effects of the novel coronavirus.