Chrysants: the problem is not Immune, but tampons

Chrysants: the problem is not Immune, but tampons
Andrea Crisanti had explained his recipe from the beginning: the only way to stem the pandemic is the massive surveillance capacity on the virus, applying a large amount of swabs to be able to place barriers where contagion is rampant. Months later, his opinion remains the same and is, moreover, at the basis of the recipe that is now allowing eastern countries to curb the pandemic: swabs everywhere cases may occur, so as to slow the advance of infections. But in this context could Immuni have been more useful?

Chrysanti: the role of Immuni

According to what Crisanti explained to ADNkronos microphones, Immuni is simply one of the pieces: neither the central one, nor the last wheel of the chariot, but a additional weapon that we should have exploited better.

Immuni is a tool, if it worked well today we would have 200,000 notifications for the 20,000 cases. No country in the world can handle notifications. We need to have Immuni, a tracking system, a buffer upgrade. In a similar context, Immuni would also work.

Contact tracing via app, in short, is something with high potential, but it must be surrounded by an adequate system of pads that allow notifications to be made effective. However, correct fact checking requires us to note that the data expressed by Dr. Crisanti should be rectified - or at least analyzed. According to current averages, in fact, each positive user on Immuni leads to about 20 notifications. This means that for 20,000 cases, the notifications would be 400,000. At the same time, given the high number of infections in the family, it is true that many of these notifications would be redundant and should be excluded from a serious impact assessment. In short: it is not clear how many "real" notifications sent could be and the evaluation of Crisanti could therefore also be weighted and correct: we do not have the statistical tools to be able to verify it.

The concept remains: Immune is part ( neither vertex, nor soul) of a contact tracing system that can only withstand small shock waves and not massive waves of contagions. It is therefore necessary to increase the resources available to local contact tracing, the number of swabs must be increased (as it has been for a few weeks now), and the tracking of the pandemic must be made more efficient. The severity of the rules and any localized closures could calm the epidemiological curve and allow us to drag the situation up to the arrival of the vaccines.

Crisanti has repeatedly been severe with Immuni, asking that it could also lower the protection of privacy so as to offer more data to healthcare in order to act in a more targeted and effective way. But this is a rejection not because of ineffectiveness, but because in the presence of a more mature context it could be better to exploit the potential of the app.

In the meantime, updated data on downloads and notifications are not available because, after days of daily updates, now the official counts have stopped since 22 October. By now there should be no quota to break through 10 million downloads, whatever the data may mean (in itself useless, but useful at least to indicate the relative interest of Italians for this collaboration tool).

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