To open or not to open? "Calculated risk", but by whom and, above all, how? To assess the risk, someone should tell us what the expectations are, with their confidence intervals, for deaths, hospitalizations, change in GDP, number of failed businesses with and without scheduled openings.
Then reading the newspapers, the feeling is that someone is no longer a researcher or a scientist or a politician, but a "closure" or "opener" regardless of the data.
Let's clarify: the novelty is the possibility of passing in the yellow area, slightly lightened by the dinner at the restaurant in open spaces and by the school in the presence (also in orange). It is not an "everything open".
The restrictions are and will always be based on the analysis of data available at the regional level. Making decisions at the provincial level would be the way forward, but who controls them? Seeing Sardinia in the red zone and Calabria in orange raises more than a few doubts about the monitoring system. But this is another, unfortunately, usual, story of skills that are not used.
How will the infection evolve if the yellow colour is assigned to a region still at risk? We know that we often close late and open too early. We know that in the yellow area, there is the possibility of an increase in infections.
The questions we ask ourselves are two.
1. How much will seasonality affect the evolution of the contagion? We cannot know this based on last year's experience: last year we were in a very different situation. We reopened in the summer after an extended total closure.
2. If the contagion were to spread more in absolute terms, how much will the vaccinations do now affect reducing deaths and hospitalizations? We can quickly expect an increase in the incidence mainly reserved for younger ages, who currently seem to run a greater risk than a year ago.
Analyzing the age distribution of hospitalizations, the infection network, the length of hospitalization, here is what could answer both questions. The data? They are not public. Many are not collected correctly or are not registered at all.
We also ask ourselves how many deaths we will still have to count every day. In this sense, vaccination is protecting the most vulnerable and the elderly. It is still too early to draw conclusions, but the lethality rate has dropped, and the examples of Israel and the UK bode well. Of course, with 300 deaths a day, it is difficult to speak of a return to normal. Given the vaccination rates, it still takes a couple of months to reach a sufficient proportion of first doses, plus the time for immunity, plus the time to see an effect on the death curve.
So? Really, after 15 months spent analyzing the evolution of the epidemic, are there those who are crying out for the re-establishment of the yellow zone? Ok, it will be a slightly different yellow zone. However, let's face it, even the red areas of these last few weeks have been much less red than in the past; indeed, the only red colour was that the restaurants and schools were closed.
The boys/children are often asymptomatic and are sent to school without any fear. It would be enough to do swabs continuously to reduce the risk. Too many costs, too much time? There are ways to reduce costs and time. Process the swabs in groups. Develop risk priority screening strategies. Modulate the screening frequency based on the observed incidence. There is a way to save without reducing the effectiveness of monitoring.
And at the end of it all, if we don't carry out checks, we can stay here and talk as much as we want, but there will never be anyway to contain the contagion.