- The tightening – “maximum containment level” – is to calibrate on a national level as intervening on the territories “is of little use.”
- The vaccination campaign should accelerate as early as within the next few days.
- The virus is running, the variants are making the contagion curve go up again, and there is an increase in the occupancy of beds in the intensive care units.
In Italy, COVID-19 deaths have exceeded 100,000. It is the first EU country to reach this figure. There is a strong risk for Italy to enter the red zone and another consequent lockdown.
The spread of variants is leading to new straits. New rules for colors and quarantine are on the way, reported Huffpost Italy.
The tightening – “maximum containment level” – is to calibrate on a national level as intervening on the territories “is of little use.” This warning comes from the COVID-19 control room as the death toll surpasses the dramatic 100,000 mark.
The government and scientists are working to make the criteria for assessing the evolution of the epidemic more stringent and also to change the indications for the duration and term of isolation of the positives to the virus, starting with the calculation of the Rt.
An update has been announced to the document “of preparation and planning in the transition phase for the autumn-winter period.” This “blue manual” was published in mid-October of last year, which proposed the reshaping of containment and mitigation measures and which introduced the 4 scenarios related to the risk of transmissibility of the contagion in the various territories.
The update, which the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Inail and Aifa are working on with the Ministry of Health, will be attached to the next circular from the ministry led by Roberto Speranza.
The goal is to stop as much as possible and in as short of an amount of time of the spread of the variants, which is increasingly consistent, while also continuing with the vaccination campaign, which should accelerate as early as the next few days.
Spot by the control room: “Localistic measures now not very useful”
The indication to intervene with new measures after the entry into force on Saturday, March 6, 2021, of the last Dpcm (decree) – the first of which was signed by Mario Draghi – comes directly from the control room – the task force made up of representatives of the Institute Superior of Health and of the Ministry of Health and by technicians of the regions.
“With the third wave underway and the vaccination campaign struggling to take off due to the scarcity of available vaccines, local measures do not make much sense,” said Enrico Coscioni, primary heart surgeon; president of Agenas, the National Agency for Services regional health workers; and a member of the control room, “to whom – Coscioni points out – has been entrusted with a particular task” and who was very clear in providing indications on the way to follow. In the latest report on Friday, March 5, 2021, “we clearly said,” continued the president of Agenas, “that this situation requires the adoption of the highest level of containment in almost all regions.”
The virus is running, the variants are making the contagion curve go up again, and there is an increase in the occupancy of beds in the intensive care units. Therefore, “in a phase of the epidemic like the current one, “ concluded Coscioni, “acting with territorial measures is of little use.”
The table of comparison
On what basis will the new measures be adopted? Aimed above all at stopping the variants? The reasoning between the government, technicians, scientists, and regions has already begun. The new Dpcm establishes a discussion table at the Ministry of Health made up of representatives of the Higher Institute of Health, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces, the Minister for Regional Affairs, and the Technical Scientific Committee, with the task of proceeding with the possible revision or updating of the parameters for the evaluation of the epidemiological risk.
The Conference of Regions will officially indicate its representatives who will be chosen the day before in the meeting of the regional Councilors for Health on Thursday, March 11, 2021. But there is already a trace of work and several hypotheses on the table and at the center of the assessments of technicians and scientists.
New criteria: “the weight” on intensive care and the RT calculated on the patients
At the top of the list of new criteria on which the control room is reasoning to standardize the rules in view of the adoption of more restrictive measures, there is certainly the parameter of the incidence (the number of positives per 100,000 inhabitants) cumulative to 7 days of 250 cases per 100,000 people.
Set in the last Dpcm to order the closure of schools, the limit could also be introduced to trigger the red zone automatically, except that the presidents of the regions – “and even some ministers” explains a highly-qualified government source – are against it because the automatism could dissuade from swabs.
Thinking is focused on the possibility of simplifying the 21 indicators used to identify the risk bands in which to place the regions, focusing on those considered most important to trace the evolution of the epidemic. An example would be the number of beds occupied by COVID patients in intensive care.
Furthermore, it is evaluated to calculate the transmissibility index, the now known Rt, on hospital patients for example. And it is evaluated to calculate the transmissibility index, the now known Rt, on hospitalized patients, so as to have a more precise estimate of the spread of the disease caused by the virus.
More rigor also for isolation and quarantine
The anti-variant tightening will also involve the modification of the indications of duration and term of the isolation of the positives to the virus and probably of the rules that the so-called close contacts will have to observe.
The new circular of the Ministry of Health will introduce changes with respect to what was established with that of October 12 last year, for long-term positive cases, for example. Today, “people who, although no longer are presenting symptoms, they continue to test positive for the molecular test. If they have not had symptoms for at least 7 days, they will be able to stop isolation after 21 days. This is an indication that may be inadequate in the face of an infection caused by the mutated virus, which is more contagious than that of the so-called “original strain.” For the same reason, the rules for asymptomatic close contacts could change.