In Italy, the 4th of May 2020 has represented the beginning of the second phase for Covid-19. Regions have started to re-open shops, restaurants, graveyards, etc…
4.5 million workers have come back to their jobs armed with masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Italian citizens are having different reactions with respect to “the new life” with the virus: on the one hand, they are careful and are still scared by the “possible second wave” of COVID, on the other side people are acting like nothing had happened.
Is Covid-19 still with us? Have we reached zero% of infection?
The first day after the lockdown, Italian public spirit has respected all the rules endowed by the government on social restrictions: limitations on public transportations, ordered queues in front of supermarkets etc…
If you want more information and check the numeric average of current positive, deceased and recovered patients, you can have a look here https://lab.gedidigital.it/gedi-visual/2020/coronavirus-i-contagi-in-italia/?refresh_c
It is visible on the graph a steady growth of discharged patients, taking into consideration also the political decrees as a second variable. Instead, it is inversely proportional to the amount of Covid‘s positive individuals from the peak to the range between 50000 and 0 cases. However, the harshly critiques of Giuseppe Conte and his program “Cura Italia” are not over: the source of discontent comes from doctors and the hospital sector. The Secretary General of Anaao Assomed, an Italian Medical Workers’ Union, is worried about the impact of the new phase on the National Health Service. From the very beginning of the pandemic, it has been put under pressure also from the multiple needs of new ICU chambers. In the health sector, there have been more than 20 000 infections and 150 victims. According to the large majority of doctors from “Medicina Generale di Milano” represented by Dr. Alessandro Politi (provincial president of S.I.M.G) :
“the worst part of the night is not over. The most dangerous part of the situation is the population’s idea that the disease is behind our backs and everything can come back to the situation ex ante COVID”
Now the threat is represented by the asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19: they are a ticking bomb that could blow up at any moment. “People in the waiting rooms of doctors can spread the disease not only to other patients”, Dr. Politi affirms, “but also to the studio personnel and directly to the doctor”.
Another opinion comes from Dr.ssa Taddeo, MMG (General Medicine Doctors): after Easter’s holidays, she already pointed out the lack of medical equipment to manage the infections. Now, she affirms that “Phase 2 could become the worst crisis ever seen, the second wave of contagion could be more aggressive than the past one”.
Every expert recommends the utmost caution in doing even the simplest actions in order to avoid the outbreak of new deaths.
Phase 2 has brought a lot of new arguments in the scientific community regarding the discussions about Covid19. The Chief of San Raffaele hospital based in Milan, Alberto Zangrillo, has affirmed that the new coronavirus is clinically dead, and that there are no signs of it still spreading in our country. In his opinion, the Government should stop the spread of “fear” on the citizens and give much more relaxation to businesses. The idea that the virus does no longer exist, and that the global pandemic is not something to worry about is also spreading among a new movement called “Gilet Arancioni” (Orange Jackets), which are gathering in different cities in Italy to manifest against the current government and the restrictions to personal freedom. Sadly the people manifesting do not use face masks or any other safety device meaning that the members participating face fines and legal charges.
The opinion of Doctor Zangrillo has sparked a lot of outrage in the medical community, which has tried to calm the spirits by stressing that the virus is still active in the Peninsula and that the daily numbers of infected and dead aren’t made up but reflect a situation which hasn’t yet settled down. The pandemic is not over yet and science is not decided through popular opinion.
While the 3rd of June should mark the opening of the regional borders it surely hasn’t been accepted quietly by the Governors of the regions. The discussions have heated up recently when the Governor of Sardegna proposed to establish a sanitary passport for the incoming visitors which come from the riskier zones. The proposal has generated a lot of discussions in the political establishment with opinions considering it a reasonable law from a concerned governor to others believing it is an unconstitutional measure.
In many European countries free movement of people inside the national borders has been re-established, but the international movement is still facing certain setbacks. The states are reopening at different rates meaning that Europe is not taking a homogenous path towards the abolishment of national barriers. Greece is opening up borders on the 15th of June, but Italians will have to wait up until 1 of July; UK reopens on the 8th of June, but maintains a voluntary quarantine period of 14 days. Spain will reopen from July while Portugal will welcome tourists from the 15th of June without restrictions. It is not clear yet when will we reach a clear policy followed by all the States of the Old Continent.
Thanks to Phase 2 we are finally tasting a little bit our “normal” lives, the work, however, is far from over; the virus is still spreading and making victims, many nations are facing difficulties in containing the infections, and their medical system is struggling to make it.
We recommend to all readers of The Global Observer but also to other ones to be 100% prudent and very careful. If we want to avoid the second wave of infections, the respect of all measures laid down by governments, the WHO and every official institution is fundamental for the health of everyone.
Francesca Virzi and Tommaso Celani