We would all like to go back to “normal”: not having movement restrictions, attending any type of environment, embracing, crowding, having fun in a carefree way. We would all like to resume the activities we carried out “before”, without any conditioning or device to wear, let alone masks both outside and inside closed places. It is good to say it right away: it will not be possible for a long time, even in Italy, where the courageous and onerous decisions we have made and the discipline of the vast majority of Italians have avoided the health and economic catastrophe that is sweeping many countries.
This new coronavirus has evolved to spread, it is still virulent and pathogenic, it is the same (with some small variations) of the beginning: the difference in the damage produced depends exclusively on the ability of governments, international institutions and health organizations to receive the evidence produced by a scientific community often painted as divided due to isolated “outsiders”, but in reality very united in proposing rigorous and effective solutions.
In the past few days President Mattarella has delivered a fantastic speech not only from an ethical and political point of view, but also from a scientific one, which should induce every Italian to reflect and behave accordingly. Instead, we are witnessing important portions of the population and, unfortunately, of the ruling class, who row in the opposite direction making the country run enormous risks both from a health and an economic point of view. What happened in Israel, Croatia and, above all, in Spain should teach us that letting go of the guard too early produces terrible damage.
Israel is experiencing a second epidemic wave much more serious than the previous one, the new daily infections have been more than 2,000 in the last two weeks (in the previous weeks they did not exceed 50), currently 34,000 positive (at the end of May under 2,000). Although the age of the infected has decreased, the capacity of the Covid units of the 4 main hospitals are already saturated. Prime Minister Netanyahu himself admitted that the mid-May reopening had to be done with more balance, especially for school activity, where neither spacing nor use of masks was respected. The response of the newly appointed Commissioner is now on four lines: recourse to the army for tracing and reconstruction of the chains of infections, increase of tampons, centralized coordination of hospital beds, awareness campaigns of citizenship.
In Croatia, the sharp deterioration of the epidemiological framework must be ascribed to the government’s highly open policy for economic and tourism purposes, which now makes it possible for any third-country national without quarantine access to the country, while in Spain the indiscriminate reopening of discotheques , night clubs and pubs has led to a dramatic increase in cases forcing the Catalan government to close them quickly. Equally strong growth in Aragon, Navarra and the Basque Country with the consequence that the main “exporters” of tourists (United Kingdom, France and Germany) placed the 14-day quarantine for all those coming from all over Spain and gave indications to own citizens not to travel to the Iberian Peninsula. The Spanish chaos is also a consequence of the cessation of the state of emergency (in Spain defined as “commissioner of the autonomous Regions”) for which, after three months, the competences have returned to the individual Regions that proceed in random order.
The indications are clear: physical distancing, correct use of masks, hygiene of the hands and of the living and working environments are essential pillars at the basis of individual behaviors, while rapid testing and tracing, timely limitation of infection outbreaks and strengthening of health services , both hospital and and above all territorial, are increasingly necessary for effective and efficient public policies.
There will be no economic recovery without health security, the example of the United States and Brazil, where scientific evidence has been ignored in favor of economic evidence is striking: never in history have the two countries experienced such a meltdown, with the United States they are losing over 30% of their gross domestic product.
We hope that Italy, praised by the Nobel Prize Krugman and the international press for how it managed the first phase of the epidemic, will not forget it.