Cold and no masks, that’s why infections increase. But the flu is worse than the virus

There are two Matteo Bassettis and the first, the one who stays in the ward from morning to night to save lives, is the one who gives the headlines to the second, the one who is a scientific popularizer on television, in the press and on social media.

The flu has arrived in Italy

It is he himself, Bassetti one, who gives material to Bassetti two: “While vaccination policies are being discussed and forecasts are being made about Covid, its variants and upcoming political decisions, the flu has arrived in Italy. I’ll tell you about the latest experience. On 31 October a very healthy 45-year-old Egyptian man with bad pneumonia was hospitalized at San Martino. He was not breathing and therefore was intubated in very serious conditions, remaining in intensive care for six days. Eventually he was transferred to infectious diseases. Do you know what he got him? Bilateral influenza A (H1N1) pneumonia. What to say? If a good day starts in the morning…. Eye because this year the flu, which has been missing from the hospital news for more than 2 years, is likely to do great damage. Better get safe. How? Vaccinating “.

Cold in sight

Also because, with the October being filed away and the Novembrata also a step away from the end, the cold is coming. Which carries viruses or at least facilitates them. And, as always, we tell them from our privileged observatory, that of Liguria which is a test region that is always interesting for its registry composition, which is the oldest in Italy and therefore the most delicate: “We are approaching winter, the a period traditionally more complex from the point of view of infectious diseases due to the drop in temperatures. In these days in Liguria we are registering an increase in the occupancy of beds ”explains the president of the Liguria Region Giovanni Toti, who until a few weeks ago was also the Regional Health Councilor. “It is important to get vaccinated, both against Covid, but also against the flu, especially as regards fragile subjects”.

Toti also makes it a matter of defense of hospitals, which risk overcrowding.

Worrying numbers for vaccines

The numbers of the last days of the vaccination campaign are dramatic because, objectively, the “free all” made to breathe by the government with the reintegration of unvaccinated health workers has changed the narrative on the usefulness of vaccination.

Yet, explains the Councilor for Health Angelo Gratarola, who until a few weeks ago was in charge of the Emergency Department, that is all the first aid and intensive care in Liguria, “the only real weapon available is to join quickly to vaccination not only for the anti-covid, but also for the anti-flu because the mix of the two viruses could be important and deleterious. The risk is therefore to witness once again an attack on hospital activities with the overcrowding of the wards, the blocking of surgical activities and the inexorable growth of waiting lists ”.
And the numbers have already begun to tell of fuller hospitals: “For some days we have been seeing the beginning of a trend reversal in all the indicators that we are constantly monitoring – explains the general manager of Alisa, which is the regional agency of Ligurian health, Filippo Ansaldi, physician and statistician – As it was legitimate to expect in conjunction with the decrease in temperatures that favors the circulation of respiratory viruses, we are witnessing a resumption of the increase in the number of positives in Liguria. The pressure on hospitals right now is still quite stable, but we can foresee an increasing trend in the coming days. In particular, the RT index resumed growth and returned to above 1 ”.

Failure of serial tamponade

And all this fits perfectly with the speeches of Matteo Basetti who, as director of the Infectious Diseases clinic of the San Martino Polyclinic, the largest in Europe, spoke on all aspects of the topic on the last days, starting with the most facetious: the cases of Covid to Big Brother Vip. “They demonstrate – explains Matteo – the failure of the serial tamponade and of the“ Zero Covid ”philosophy adopted in many television studios and workplaces. It is too contagious a virus to be contained by old measures ”.

Bassetti also draws up a handbook to change the point of view on Covid and on the upcoming diseases, starting from the first commandment: “Buffers only to the symptomatic and no more Covid bubbles or barriers for an irrepressible virus”.

Old Covid is dead

“The covid of 2020 and 2021 is dead – explains the Genoese infectious disease specialist – Let’s turn the page and tackle the infectious problems of the season appropriately but without alarmism. The hospital situation is flat for Covid: few cases of true pneumonia very different from those seen in 2020 and 2021. Data from other countries tell us that, soon, new variants will also arrive in Italy, including Cerberus which will become predominant . Do you have to worry? I would say no because it will be very contagious, but no longer lethal or aggressive. However, it is good for the elderly and the frail to go for the vaccine booster to make it even less aggressive and contagious. From the organizational point of view it is necessary to do fewer swabs in general and in particular to stop doing screening swabs in hospitals. Many have already understood that you have to live with a virus that is different and that needs to be addressed in a different way. Now everyone must understand it ”.

The sign of peace in the church

And all this, in Bassetti’s social councils, is rightly declined also on everyday life. Matteo, in fact, goes with his splendid wife Maria Chiara Milano Viessieux and his boys to mass at the Boccadasse church, which is the most beautiful seaside village in the world and, obviously, as in all churches, the priest says to exchange peace with a look: “I do not understand why we are shaking hands now, as they have always done and in the Church we cannot yet exchange the sign of peace in this way. We must also return to the Church to what we were doing until March 2020. It will certainly not be a handshake that will change the course of this virus. This too must be the sign of the return to normality ”.

Bassetti’s esteem to the Minister of Health

And in a, in my opinion beautiful, dialectic competition between high and low, rock and pop of the story of the virus, Matteo alternates light themes with advice to the Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci, whom he esteems. “With Covid – explains Basetti – we won a pitched battle, but the war still hasn’t. I propose to the minister to listen to the experts in this sector; make a generational change within the ministry consultants; changing rules that are no longer suitable, such as the obligation to isolate positives; simplifying swabs and avoiding them for screening and in general in asymptomatic patients, it no longer makes sense to continue to do so; simplify the use of antivirals to make them even more available to the population and make differentiated reports. Doing them every week instead of every day is much better, but the statistics should be better articulated, to distinguish the type of hospital admissions, deaths and their causes “.

The Bassetti-Pregliasco controversy

Bassetti’s controversy with Fabrizio Pregliasco, who had feared a boom in infections at Christmas should also be read in this context: “This is not the time to terrify people. To say that those who have given three doses of vaccine are at risk of making disease seen in 2020 and 2021 is wrong and I don’t feel like saying it. To say that the Immaculate Conception, the holidays, Christmas, will lead to an increase in infections and put the population at risk of having serious forms is a message that I would not give. We do less alarmism which does not help, on the contrary it does more damage than the virus. Whoever has done the three doses and also the disease has an important protection, which could be evaded by the new variants, but these do not give more serious forms of pathology . We will have, and we should get used to, continuous upsurge in the contagion curve. Covid as we saw it in 2020-2021 is dead. Today I say that we have almost 100% of the population protected for severe Covid forms. We must go towards the norm lization and coexistence with this virus which competes with other viruses that cause respiratory infections. This is the big news Sars-CoV-2: while in 2020-2021 it had a monopoly, today there are other viruses that compete with it “.

The international framework

And to confirm all this is also the international framework: “The mandatory isolation of the SarsCoV-2 swab positives – explains Bassetti – is no longer foreseen in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The country where you are isolated the longest by law is Italy where you get to 14 days of compulsory isolation to go out without tests. It seems to me an exaggerated duration and today anachronistic. We must change soon, eliminating it completely. This is to standardize Covid to all other respiratory infectious diseases for which there is no obligation. Today, between a patient positive for influenza viruses and a patient with Covid-19, I almost prefer the latter because it has greater immunity against serious pathology, the result of vaccines and sometimes even infection, and I also have more drugs to treat it. Obviously this does not mean going out with a fever, but leaving the management to responsibility of the individual and not to the State. Just as it has always happened for other respiratory infections ”.

Also because “the first cases of flu have arrived, even heavy ones. I think they will continue to grow and this year the flu season will certainly be more incisive than we have seen in the past because the masks had limited it. We are careful and my advice is to get vaccinated. As our American colleagues have said, there will be a triple epidemic, but I call it the ‘infernal trio’, that is the flu, Sars-CoV-2 and the respiratory syncytial virus, which I fear will do damage “.

This is called, by Bassetti, a secular approach to Covid. It is called, from the first to the last line, return to normal.

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Cold and no masks, that’s why infections increase. But the flu is worse than the virus


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