With nearly 200 dead in one day, Italy faces a new wave of coronavirus

With the 194 deaths as of Tuesday, the total number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic has reached 160,103 since its start on February 21, 2020, the highest of the 27 countries of the European Union. Those infected were 88,173 that day.

These data confirm that the high infection performance of the omicron variant delays the remission phase in which the fourth wave of the coronavirus has entered.

Nearly 200 deaths in one day show that the level of daily deaths is higher than expected. Tuesday is the day that best reflects the situation of the pandemic in this country because many more swab checks are carried out.

The combination between infected and deceased provides a snapshot of the state of the evolution of the plague every Tuesday.

The government, pressured by public opinion and politicians who were calling for an inexorable return to normality “because people are fed up”, accompanied the downward evolution of the pandemic curve in March with the easing of restrictions which will firm up at the end of this month.

Bars and restaurants in Italy already operate without restrictions on the number of people. Photo: EFE

Goodbye the obligatory chin?

In the last ten days of this month, the Minister of Public Health and the scientific committees which advise the government must decide whether the compulsory wearing of masks in closed places will be abolished from May 1.

The state of emergency was already abolished in early April after two years. The exception system that allowed for an effective vaccination campaign that immunized almost 90% of Italians was also removed.

Vaccination continues, but the paces are much less frantic, although millions of people remain unvaccinated.

Full stadiums, bars and restaurants

The stadiums again received fans at one hundred percent capacity, although Italy’s exclusion from the World Cup in Qatar due to their humiliating loss to lowly North Macedonia left the “tifosi “sad and partly absent.

There are no more restrictions on going to bars, restaurants, cinemas, theaters and dance hallsexcept obligation to put on the mask, at least until the end of the month.

Some scientists say it is moving too quickly towards normality. “We are tired of the virus, but it is not tired of us,” said researcher Andrea Crisanti.

“We hope that in two or three weeks an acceptable level will be reached, below a hundred deaths per day,” said Professor Matteo Bassetti, director of infectious diseases at San Martino hospital in Genoa.

The omicron Xe variant

The Omicron scanning domain and its variants have puzzled many scientists. Some believe that Omicron is actually “a new virus” with a continuous spread of variants.

Between 1 and 2 they have already moved Delta to Italy. Other variants have been identified in Britain, resulting in the Xe which seems destined to dislodge its rivals.

Professor Giorgio Gilestro, professor of neurobiology at Imperial College London, said 600 cases of Omicrom Xe have already been sequenced, with notable differences from previous variants.

Omicrom 1 was found to be 20% more contagious than Delta, which is surprising in its ability to multiply. And om 2 is even 10% more contagious. Gilestro said “Xe is not yet a cause for concern, but it has a great ability to flow more easily than the previous variants from which it derives.” Small samples of Xd and Xf also appeared.

“Be careful because the risk we run is that of having a long-term situation like the one experienced in March 2020. The only thing we know about Xe is that it is a recombined variant of Xe. ‘ómicron 1 and Ómicron 2, which is the only one that’s booming right now,” he explained.

According to Professor Gilestro, Xe “is a mix between two viruses that created a third. These recombinations are common. But the particularity of the Xe is that it is a variant that manages to circulate more easily than the omicron 1 and 2″.

So far it has been found in Britain, Belgium and other European countries “and surely if you look you will find more”. Gilestro says European countries have let their guard down reduce testing and sequences. “Many travel in the dark.”

In Britain, the number of reported cases was high, but the Italian professor from Imperial College London explained that “the Xe is still worth a few cases, but it is increasing at a rate of 10% per week”. “In the long run, it will be dominant because it multiplies faster than the other variants,” he said.

Gilestro believes that “in the coming months other variants will arrive that will act like omicron and be dominant, especially with high transmission capacity.”

Fortunately, the scientist believes that “vaccines maintain a discreet level of protection against the most severe symptoms and I think we will continue like this”.

Although a large part of the Italian population is vaccinated against covid, there are still many infections.  Photo: EFE

Although a large part of the Italian population is vaccinated against covid, there are still many infections. Photo: EFE

More hospitalizations

But he points out that in several countries hospitalizations are increasing (in Italy there are already more than 10,000 patients in areas of non-serious patients) and the fear is that a variant is coming, whether Xe or another, which “will not only have the ability to infect vaccinated people, but will begin to transmit less mild symptoms.

“In this case, the risk is to have many more people hospitalized. It is impossible to predict when this will happen. That is why you have to be prepared. “There are countries that no longer do tests”, he warned.

On the contrary, most European countries remove restrictions contain the pandemic despite the fact that viruses continue to circulate.

This Tuesday, for example, there was a bad surprise in Veneto, with an unexpected increase in infections of more than 9,000 cases, up from 2,048 on Monday. A strong aggravation.

In Italy, spring has arrived, quite cold so far, but ahead of the intense heat of the national summer. Professor Pregliasco, a professor at the University of Milan, assumes that the threats of the virus will diminish, and that “next (boreal) autumn we will enter an endemic phase”.

“It will increase our ability to live with the virus and we will discover better therapies,” he concluded optimistically.

Rome, correspondent


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