Boycotting Covid-19 tracking won't make us have a better summer

Boycotting Covid-19 tracking won't make us have a better summer

There are cases of lies, guilty omissions and tricks to escape the quarantine. But in this way containing the delta variant becomes impossible

(photo: Ayelt Van Veen / Unsplash) The theme is not an absolute novelty, of course, but it seems to have worsened significantly with the arrival of summer and - as it is easy to guess - with the holiday period. We are not just talking about the downloads and use of the Immuni application for digital contact tracing, which in itself would be a valid tool if used correctly and by everyone, but of the more general epidemiological investigation system to which it is subjected (both Italy as in many other countries) anyone who becomes positive for the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus.

In short, the information on who are the people with whom you have been in close contact in the previous hours and days is decisive for the containment of viral circulation, given that those people could in turn be positive or have been infected (albeit still asymptomatic and negative to the tampon) by the person in question. A mechanism that has always had a series of its intrinsic imperfections - including forgetfulness, close contacts not considered such, the impossibility of completely tracing very large outbreaks, and so on - and which is now further weakened by the ever more frequent and blatant lies. that doctors hear about when they carry out the epidemiological investigation.

As to the reason for these lies, and why the problem is now becoming crucial, there is not much to discover. Reporting someone as a close contact of a positive case means forcing them into a 10-day quarantine, which at best leads to precious summer days burning, and at worst it could even compromise the long-awaited holidays and participation in the long-awaited worldly events. Even more so at a time when Italy, after interminable months of restrictions, is still completely in the white zone, but in which it is perceived that the current one free everyone (sometimes even beyond what is allowed) may not last long, and therefore every missed opportunity is lived with even more regret.

And so the loyal and praiseworthy collaboration with the contact tracing staff, only rarely undermined in recent months by some haggard conspiratorial, has been transformed with the passing of weeks in a sort of interrogation in which the new positive tries in every way to avoid confessing the truth, even at the cost of denying the evidence. And instead of that widespread fear of contagion which led to the inclusion of even more people than necessary in the contact list, the opposite trend has established itself, in which the fear is rather that of doing a rude to some friend or relative.

Between the ridiculous and the criminal

The phenomenon of pandemic “silence” seems to be transversal to all Italian regions, and is well represented abroad as well. There is obviously no specific age group for this trend, but the cases that have ended up in the headlines seem to be mainly concentrated on the younger ones. Minors, with the complicity of parents who would like to steal their children from the pillory of friends in chat and on social networks (to the point of training them on what to say and what to omit), or just over 18 and 20, in the age group with the greatest number of close contacts, with the least vaccination coverage and also the least fear of contagion and disease.

So the news of escapes, of crazy requests to make use of the right to remain silent, chase each other, of attempts to escape tracking by becoming unavailable and above all of infinite sequelae of lies. Just take a look at the cases documented by the Republic in the Rome area alone to get an idea. People who swear to have attended super crowded parties without having met or interacted with other human beings. Lifetime friends who claim they don't know each other at all. Potential close contacts that move away from the area where the outbreak developed at the news of the first positivity. Groups of friends on vacation together, complete with group photos on social media, who claim they never got close to each other.

Beyond the moral aspects, and the consequences in terms of the circulation of the virus that the false declarations could determine, even from the legal point of view it is not at all innocent lies. On several occasions from the Public Health Departments in the last few days rather harsh messages have arrived, reminding that those who provide incorrect information or are reluctant to communicate everything they know about an ongoing pandemic may have to answer for a criminal offense. In fact, if a person aware of his positivity deliberately decides not to communicate movements and omit his acquaintances, a possible violation of the code is looming. All the more so if it were to be demonstrated that negligence has led to serious consequences in the chain of contagion, such as death or hospitalization in intensive care.

Elderly people, on the other hand, seem to tend to be more sincere in their statements, at least from what the tracing workers report, employed in an activity that has less and less the characteristics of a strictly medical task and more and more resembles that of the investigator, the psychologist (to create an empathic relationship) and the behavioral scientist.

If the boycott harms others above all

The effect of this boycott dynamic is beginning to be felt also on a quantitative level. This is demonstrated, for example, by the fact that the increase in cases recorded in recent weeks in Italy has not been matched by an increase in people placed in isolation for contact tracing, but rather the number of people identified by tracing has decreased further.

The effect of this phenomenon, with an unspecified number of "tracing tricksters" who circulate unscrupulously enjoying coverage from those who may have infected them, will probably be to prevent the new outbreaks from being stemmed, also increasing their geographical diffusion due to the effect of summer travels. And to pay the consequences, statistics in hand, will be mainly older people, starting with those without vaccination coverage.

The fear, as indicated by the experts, is that the cases of non-tracking of which you know are just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are known episodes related to watching the matches of the national football team in front of big screens, or to group trips within (or more often outside) national borders, or even positive cases identified inside hotels , accommodation facilities, clubs and restaurants. However, the whole gigantic world of gatherings and private parties is missing, the one of which no trace remains in any register or list, and perhaps not even on social media. And if there have been people who have continued to lie even in the face of a photograph that leaves no room for misunderstanding or a shared hotel reservation, it is not difficult to imagine what the omission rate can be when there is no element that can guide. or at least make the trackers suspicious.

Yet in a situation where we all win or lose together, where reducing viral circulation is an advantage for the community and consequently for each one individually, collaboration should be one of the key points. Overcoming the fear of having to sacrifice a vacation or receiving the annoyed reaction of some acquaintance legitimately referred to as close contact.

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App contact tracing Coronavirus Immune Health Vaccines Sars-Cov-2 variants globalData.fldTopic = "App contact tracing, Coronavirus, Immune, Health, Vaccines, Sars-Cov-2 variants"

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