Delta variant, Gimbe: “We cannot wait for it to spread, implement timely measures”

On the Delta variant of Covid, “proactivity is needed, that is, enhancing sequencing and contact tracing, as well as implementing screening strategies for those arriving from abroad and completing the vaccination cycle of over 60s and frailties. To date in Italy there are on this variant few data and management is too wait-and-see “. This is the judgment of the Gimbe Foundation report analyzing its independent monitoring carried out between 16 and 22 June. “If at present all the data show a low circulation of the virus and a minimal hospital impact, a ‘wait-and-see’ management of the Delta variant is not acceptable, against which the measures recommended by the ECDC must be promptly implemented: enhance sequencing and contact tracing, implement screening strategies for those arriving from abroad, accelerate the administration of the second dose in over 60s and the frail, commensurate the intensity of non-pharmacological measures to contain the infection with their complete coverage “, suggests Nino Cartabellotta, president According to the ECDC report published yesterday, the delta (or Indian) variant is 40-60% more contagious than the alpha (English) variant and will determine 70% of new infections by the beginning of August and 90 % by the end of the month. In Italy, “according to the international database Gisaid, on the basis of the samples taken from 9 to 23 June, out of 218 sequences deposited 71 (32.6%) are from the delta variant, a number of uncertain national representativeness given that not all Regions share the sequences in this database – reports the Gimbe document – A more accurate data on the prevalence of the delta variant in Italy, which stood at 1% as of May 18, is expected with the new ISS prevalence survey on the samples notified on June 22 “.” In the absence of reliable data on the presence of the delta variant in Italy – points out Cartabellotta – there are three reasonable certainties: first of all, the number of sequences carried out is modest and considerably heterogeneous at the regional level; secondly, contact tracing does not has been adequately recovered, despite the contagion numbers allowing it; finally, the comparison with what is happening in the United Kingdom is worrying despite being further ahead in terms of vaccination coverage: in fact in Italy just over 1 in 4 people have adequate coverage, having – he continues – completed the vaccination cycle (27.6% compared to 46% in the United Kingdom), while 26.5% of the population received only one dose (compared to 17% in the UK) and 46% are totally uncovered (compared to 37% in the UK), worrying percentages considering the lower effectiveness of a single dose of the vaccine against this variant “. -90% hospitalizations since the beginning of April The monitoring then notes that “the hospitals have emptied with a 90% drop in accesses since the beginning of April”. In the week from 16 to 22 June, compared to the previous one, there was “a decrease in new cases (7,262 against 11,440) and deaths (221 against 411). The currently positive cases also decreased (72,964 against 105,906), people in home isolation (70,313 versus 102,069), hospitalizations with symptoms (2,289 versus 3,333) and intensive care (362 versus 504) “. “For 14 consecutive weeks – says Cartabellotta – there has been a decline in new weekly cases. If the constant reduction in the positive / cases tested ratio confirms a reduced circulation of the virus, the progressive decrease in testing activity underestimates the number of new cases and documents the insufficient tracing of contacts, crucial in this phase of the pandemic “. From the week 5-11 May” the number of people tested has progressively reduced by 52.7%, passing from 662,549 to 313,122 – reports the Gimbe document – in the period 12 May-22 June the national average stood at 101 people tested per day per 100,000 inhabitants with significant and unjustified regional differences. The decrease in new weekly cases is confirmed throughout the national territory (irrelevant in absolute value the increase percentage of Liguria and Molise) (table). In addition, deaths have been steadily decreasing for 10 weeks, which in the last week anus on average at 32 per day compared to 59 in the previous week “.” The constant reduction in hospitalized patients – says Renata Gili, Head of Research on Health Services of the Gimbe Foundation – has led to the occupation of beds by Covid patients 4% both in the medical area and in intensive care, with all Regions recording values ​​below 10% and 4 Regions without Covid patients hospitalized in a critical area “. In detail, from the peak of April 6, the number of beds occupied in the medical area fell from 29,337 to 2,289 (-92.2%) and those in intensive care from 3,743 to 362 (-90.3%). People in home isolation, from the peak of March 28, went from 540,855 to 70,313 (-87%). “Daily admissions to intensive care – explains Marco Mosti, operational director of the Gimbe Foundation – have been decreasing for 3 months and the 7-day moving average is 11 admissions per day”.

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