Covid-19 infections in Italy are growing again

Covid-19 infections in Italy are growing again

Infections from Covid-19 are growing in March 2022 in Italy and, after a "quieter" month of February, the epidemic has regained strength. This is shown by the daily positive count and this is also confirmed by the latest data from the weekly monitoring on the coronavirus, conducted by the Higher Institute of Health (Iss) and by the Ministry of Health.

The incidence of new cases per 100 thousand inhabitants rises again, from 3 to 10 March from 433 to 510 per 100 thousand. There is therefore an inversion of the trend, compared to the immediately preceding period, in which the curve was down, according to the ISS and the ministry, although fortunately this is not currently reflected in an increase in hospitalized patients.

More cases but fewer hospitalizations The positivity rate, that is the ratio between the percentage of infected people on the total number of those tested, increases, in a constantly growing trend, from 8.8% from March 2 to 14, 8 of March 13. In general, if on 2 March the positives ascertained were about 36 thousand out of over 415 thousand swabs carried out, while on March 9 we climbed to about 48.5 thousand out of almost 433 thousand tests. The Rt index - a parameter often used throughout the pandemic - also increased, reaching from 0.75 to 0.83, still below the epidemic threshold, the level of attention. How are infections discovered today? The ISS document announces that the percentage of cases detected through tracing or due to the appearance of symptoms is slightly increasing, while the number of patients discovered by chance, as part of screening activities, is decreasing a little.

The report shows that in the first week of March the transmissibility and incidence of the disease rises, even if hospitalizations have not been affected. The percentage of intensive care beds occupied by Covid patients was 6.2% on 8 March, compared to 7.4% on 1 March. So the descent continues, as far as hospitalizations are concerned, not following the trend of infections.

How to interpret the epidemic data The current results concern a still very limited period and it will be necessary to wait time to understand what could be the future evolution. It will take 7-10 days, says Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation (which deals with the promotion of research and data analysis in healthcare), "to understand whether the rise in the curve of new cases is a simple rebound or the start of a new wave ". The increase in cases is reasonably due to various elements, as Cartabellotta clarifies. Among these, the relaxation of the measures and the threshold of attention, the spread of the more contagious variant omicron 2, the decrease in the protection of the vaccine over time. Vaccination coverage is high, as the ISS recalls, and this helps more and more over time, to reduce serious cases of Covid-19 and hospitalizations.

What happened before After the winter wave, starting from the third week of January 2022 the Higher Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health begin to report a decreasing weekly incidence of cases, although still very high. Already in the first week of February the infections, now all due to the omicron variant, are decreasing and the trend is confirmed, as emerges from the ISS data, also in the subsequent period. The incidence of new positives and hospitalizations are lowered.

Among the tools that mitigate the epidemic there is the high vaccination coverage, the support provided by the recall and the recent recovery of numerous patients already affected by omicron. At that stage, the authorities recalled the need to continue to maintain protective measures, including the use of masks and distancing.

The relaxation of restrictions The end of the state of emergency is scheduled for March 31, 2022 and the vaccination obligation for those over 50 will remain in force until June 15. The government is discussing easing other measures, including the green pass. Since 11 February, the obligation to use the mask outdoors has lapsed, but it is still necessary to keep it with you and wear it if necessary, in the presence of crowds. Instead, the obligation remains indoors and for now, even considering the rise in cases, we do not know when this rule will fall. In this regard, the president of the Gimbe Cartabellotta Foundation reminds us that the circulation of the virus is still high and that, regardless of the expiry of the state of emergency, it would be completely unreasonable to think of abandoning the masks indoors.

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