Referendum 12 June and masks: what Pregliasco, Galli and Bassetti say

Obligatory surgical mask for voters and for the members of the polling stations for the referendum and the administrative offices of 12 June 2022. A measure, foreseen by the Lamorgese-Speranza health protocol that is causing discussion. In this regard, the leader of the League Matteo Salvini announces “appeal” because, he says, “it is madness”. Let’s see what are the different opinions of the experts. Read also PREGLIASCO – “The masks at the polls make sense and have a usefulness. They are a right measure of attention in a moment of institutional gathering” virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco, professor at the State University of Milan, tells Adnkronos Salute.

GALLI – “It is clear that 100% safety at polling stations is not possible, in terms of Covid infections”, Massimo Galli, former director of the infectious diseases department of the Sacco hospital in Milan, told Adnkronos Health. “And it is clear that an electoral event, like any event that may involve a concentration of people, must be considered with all the necessary precautions, adopting the necessary protective measures, from the mask to the distancing”. Therefore, the indications to limit the risks for everyone are right. And in particular for “the people assigned to the polling stations”, more exposed, who must “be protected”, argues Galli. “When we did not have the vaccine, on the occasion of an electoral appointment, I did not hesitate to say that I thought the situation was dangerous. Now the picture is completely different, even if we do not have absolute security. The elections must be held without any doubt: there are no elements so as not to consider the use of electoral law a priority at this moment and with this epidemiological situation. And the rules for the prevention of infection are just as right. It is obviously important that they are also enforced “. BASSETTI – “On the obligation to wear a mask to go to vote, let’s spread a pitiful veil,” Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic in Genoa, told Adnkronos Health. “Today we can go to dance the macarena in the disco, we can go to the supermarket or pharmacy without a mask, while to go to vote there is the risk of contagion. Absurd. Politics is far from the citizens. We are faced with bureaucracy that is going crazy and making decisions where there is no real scientific evidence “. “In the management of the pandemic – warns the infectious disease specialist – at the moment we are sailing on sight and we do not have the good general Figliuolo who is there ready to organize the autumn campaign as he did in 2021. In September-October we play a lot, the virus will circulate a lot with Omicron 5 and we hope to have made the bivalent vaccine “. CRISANTI – “Why the obligation to wear a mask to access the polling stations? Because the seats are inside schools, to begin with. And inside schools you go with a mask. I don’t see it so absurd” he tells Adnkronos Salute è Andrea Crisanti , director of the Department of Molecular Medicine of the University of Padua. On the question of the obligation, foreseen by the circular, to wear protection for the voters called to the polls and for the members of the polling stations engaged in reception operations, counting of ballots and so on, the debate has ignited. “But I see it ridiculous that we have to discuss this thing – objects Crisanti -. The controversy is ridiculous. We are discussing whether to wear a mask for 5 minutes to go to vote. I am sure that I will put it on without problems”. CICCOZZI – “Today also in Italy we are dealing with a virus that is still circulating and wearing a mask indoors and at risk of crowding and queues is always better”, explains Massimo Ciccozzi, head of the Medical Statistics Unit to Adnkronos Health Epidemiology of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Bio-Medico Campus of Rome. “It remains, I have always maintained, an important safeguard also by virtue of the fact that the Omicron BA.5 variant is slightly more contagious than all the previous ones. Right now, let’s not give up the attention that has distinguished us”. CLEMENTS – The obligation to wear a mask to access the polling stations “could have been avoided. If it is an anachronistic measure? In my opinion, yes”. This is the vision of Massimo Clementi, director of the Microbiology and Virology Laboratory of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan. “It is not clear – he comments to Adnkronos Salute, with respect to the debate that has arisen on the appropriateness of the measure – why the ballot boxes should be an ‘extraterritorial’ space with respect to the rest of the country, where the obligation to mask closed places has fallen almost everywhere by now. The duration of the stop, among other things, is very short. At a scientific level there are no foundations, in my opinion “. GISMONDO – “At the polls in a mask? It is a measure that makes no sense. If we are without a mask in the restaurant, it is not clear why to go to vote we will have to wear it” says to Adnkronos Salute Maria Rita Gismondo, director of the Laboratory of clinical microbiology, virology and diagnostics of bioemergencies at the Sacco hospital in Milan. MINELLI – “The advantages acquired serve as a margin to be conserved, not as an asset to be squandered. Because if with Covid-19 we start playing who is stronger, I don’t know if everyone can win. For sure, fragile people would not win, who faces chronic conditions with a delicate balance, those who cannot afford further health risks. And Sars-CoV-2, and its ‘derivatives’, risks seem to make us run again. This is why in certain situations the mask can be a device for real protection that must be used, also to go to vote in administrative offices and for referendums “. Thus the immunologist Mauro Minelli, responsible for Southern Italy of the Foundation for personalized medicine, speaking with Adnkronos Salute. “Personally – he adds – I would suggest to provide for the constant use of the mask by the scrutineers and those in charge of the polling station, and for voting operations also for all voters. As well as during the counting of the ballots to the representatives of the list and to any bystanders gathered in closed and poorly ventilated environments “.” It’s true: the forthcoming projections seem to exclude summer emergencies on the pandemic front, so why not believe it fully? Remembering above all the others, because the new coronavirus has a terrible capacity to find the differences between us “, warns the immunologist.

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