Italy’s latent risk of entering the third phase of the COVID-19 pandemic is reminiscent of a disoriented flock being misled by its shepherd and his dogs.
The disobedience of a large part of Italians (especially young people) not observing the protection suggested against COVID-19 that has been issued daily by political leaders, has led to an increased trend of daily infections by expert doctors, pre-announcing the risk of a third COVID-19 lockdown phase.
However, the disobedience is because of the serious confusion created by the daily change of directives by the institutions. A flock misled by its shepherd and his dogs is a bewildered flock indeed.
It is known that the second phase of COVID-19 in Italy was because of the lack of foresight of politicians in granting ample freedom to Italians during last summer, which ended with a serious surge in infections and deaths.
This same mistake is about to repeat itself on the occasion of the Christmas holidays and the end of the year. The recent “dress rehearsals” last weekend with the green light for pre-Christmas purchases, alarmed doctors and institutions about the confirmed fear of aggravation of infections and (recent) deaths, again due to those who lead the flock.
The example of Germany
While Germany has imposed a firm lockdown order on its population on the occasion of the upcoming holidays until January 10, an example followed by other European countries, Italian politicians are still hesitating on what to do. After confirming to Italians the OK to travel within the borders of the yellow zones throughout the country, it was communicated a possible rethink is in the making, and to date daily meetings are occurring for a final decision.
This confusion that has put thousands of people organized for train and plane trips in difficult situations and potential of facing the terror of catering operators and traders. Not the least of these concerns is the encouragement of the deniers.
Hymn by Mameli (or “Brothers of Italy”)
It is the national anthem in which one of its stanzas reads: “Collect us.” In the nineteenth-century language of Mameli, it means “keep us united.” Apparently not all Italians know the anthem, and nothing is being done to remind them of it.
Hymns of Mameli Version for Children
By law, the teaching of the hymn in schools is mandatory. A children’s choir, during the opening ceremony of Expo 2015, changed the ending of the refrain of the hymn by Mameli in this way: the verse, from “we are ready to die” became “we are ready to live,” Italy called. Do we want to take this hope away from children?
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is the inspiring document of international legislation on the inalienable rights of man, a set of norms at the basis of many civilian achievements of the last 70 years. Eleanor Roosevelt called it “the Magna Carta of Humanity.”
“Inalienable human rights” – in this case, the government should monitor!
How Japan is Keeping Infections Low
Japan, a densely-populated country with 126 million inhabitants and the highest percentage of elderly people in the world, has so far had a very low number of deaths from COVID-19. In all there have been, 2,446 deaths (less than there are in one day in the United States at this time), without resorting to an aggressive test strategy, the famous “3Ts” which are often written about. Instead, Japan is relying on the so-called “3Cs” to be avoided: “closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings.” (source :ilCorriere.it)
One of the peculiarities of the COVID-19 pandemic is that having hit almost the whole world at the same time, it has made evident the differences in the approach of the various countries to the health crisis and in the results they have obtained. In the Italian debate, there has been much talk of the Swedish case or – on the contrary – of the South Korean strategy, but almost nothing of the Japanese one. The Economist does cover this, however, in an article from which useful lessons for Italy can also be drawn (together with the awareness of their limits).
In addition to the 3Cs, the Japanese government warns of 5 specific dangers including dinners with alcohol, drinking and eating in groups of more than 4, and speaking without face masks at close range. Of course, these insights would have been useless if ordinary people ignored them. But the Japanese listened to the government’s advice to stay home and quarantine if they showed symptoms of the coronavirus, even if these warnings had no legal value.
These are rules that could also be followed in Italy, but the key point is just that. Is Italy ready to do it? The Italian Government, with its insistence on sanctions, has shown that it does not trust its citizens. But what is also missing is clear and unambiguous communication from the institutions. Perhaps Italy should start there.