Australian and Covid, how to defend yourself from the “perfect storm”: the word to the experts

The news will displace many: the “Australian” flu, the dreaded flu already circulating in Australia in “their” winter and which has affected many people of Catania even in our atypical winter, has not yet reached its peak, expected instead for the end of January, beginning of February . With regard to the flu vaccination, virologists and infectious disease specialists agree, and we consulted three “important” ones: Bruno Cacopardo and Carmelo Iacobello, directors of the infectious diseases departments respectively at Garibaldi Nesima and at the Cannizzaro hospital, and Mario Cuccia, head of Epidemiology at the ‘Asp. “Although the flu vaccination campaign began in October – they say – it is still recommended, especially in the younger age groups, adolescents and young adults. Immunity is obtained after 10-14 days and you will be covered for several months ».

«It is a type of virus that has not appeared for twenty years – says Cacopardo – for this reason it mainly affects children and adolescents and has a more complex pathogenicity, a severe virulence burdened by pulmonary and gastrointestinal complications. In the ward we had, paradoxically, more pneumonia from flu than from Covid, in some cases with multi-organ complications, such as microencephalitis. The symptoms are intense for 4-6 days, but even if they improve after this period, the risk of bacterial superinfections, due in particular to pneumococcus, which cause fever and cough, should not be underestimated.

«We had foreseen the Australian flu – specifies Iacobello – in association with Covid we are heading towards the “perfect storm”, even if the flu is characterized by a higher fever and a more challenging picture than Covid, not counting the other forms of flu such as adenoviruses and respiratory syncytial viruses, the impact of which is very strong especially in the Pediatrics department».

«The impact on the national health service must be considered – adds Cuccia -, because the emergency rooms are clogged: it often happens because the family doctors themselves are very “clogged” or the patients do not have constant contact with them. Hospitalization does not become necessary, except in particular cases of vulnerability and the presence of other pathologies, I am thinking of diabetics and elderly people. And in our province there are many over 80s».

The blockages of the emergency rooms have certainly not decreased and “three factors contribute – says Cacopardo – the simultaneous presence of Covid and other respiratory pathologies, which complicates the picture, in addition to the habit of making use of the first aid also for pathologies of small cabotage ».
Because Covid is still circulating, mostly in the Omicron variant and the new, apparently mild, indications for exiting the infection have just been made known by the national government (without a buffer after five days asymptomatic, ed). «All in all, they are fine for Omicron – Cacopardo continues – It will instead be for the Gryphon variant – now attested to 4-8% diffusion and which will circulate more between January and February – which I believe will have to be taken new, more stringent directives».

«In the wards – points out Iacobello – we have returned to the hospitalizations of subjects who have tested positive for Covid, but who access the hospital for other reasons: we have not yet managed to set the right priorities. Then there is the issue of the “underground”, the positives who do not report themselves, but which come out, for example when they ask to access treatments such as monoclonal antibodies: we administer them more and more often to healthy young people, but who have need to continue working, and it concerns a very broad social group without the right job protections».

«The Covid game is not over yet – warns Cuccia – it is important, especially for fragile subjects, to receive the fourth and fifth dose of the vaccine. The definition of “immunosuppressed” will then be clarified by the national government; I would say that for the over 65s for now we remain with the old regime for the declaration of exit from the infection ».

For Covid and the flu, the most effective weapon remains the vaccination which, on a voluntary basis, can be received simultaneously at the ASP vaccine hub in via Pasubio where “in these days – informs the manager Giuseppe Borzì – provisionally, in pending the reorganization of the staff, we have changed the opening hours: 14-18 from Monday to Friday and 8-14 on Saturday ».


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Australian and Covid, how to defend yourself from the “perfect storm”: the word to the experts

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