Covid, Sicily in the balance between the white and orange zone

In the Island that dreams of the white zone in spring, the real challenge is to resist in the yellow zone until Easter. It is true, the data of the latest report from the control room are good: the transmission index Rt has dropped again (from 0.73 to 0.71) and the incidence is 58 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants. But it remains above the threshold of 50 cases out of 100 thousand with Rt of 0.50, necessary to change boxes. In addition, the dossier photographs the situation a week earlier. “In the last few days there are signs of a rise in infections”, warns the professor of Statistics Vito Muggeo. To divide the island from the white zone there are two crucial weeks on which the unknowns of the diffusion of the variants and the setbacks of a vaccination campaign weakened by the lack of doses weigh. “It is not the time to relax the restrictive measures”, insists the infectious specialist Massimo Farinella.

The dossier

In the ministerial report that evaluates the week from 15 to 21 February, the island is classified as low risk, with 2,868 new cases, 11 percent less than the week before. There were 291 outbreaks and 1,323 cases not attributable to known epidemiological links. The occupancy of intensive care beds fell to 16 per cent and to 21 per cent for the ordinary wards. The positive rate on molecular swabs has increased from 11.9 to 9.1 percent and for 9 out of 10 positive tracing of close contacts is guaranteed.

Coronavirus, 578 new positives in Sicily: stable contagion rate at 2.3%. 986 healed, 21 dead

by Gioacchino Amato


The scenarios

Yet in the last few days something has changed. Explains Vito Muggeo, coordinator of the research group “Covistat-19” of the Department of Economics, Business and Statistics: “The previous weeks saw Sicily in a phase of severe recession of the pandemic, with a transmissibility index Rt among the most low in Italy, higher only than Sardinia. But since the beginning of this week the number of new cases is growing: it has gone from 411 cases on Sunday to 613 on Thursday and 578 on Friday. Beyond the daily values , there is some evidence of a growth trend that may indicate a worrying resumption of the epidemic “. According to the statistical model used, the RT could jump above 1. “We are witnessing a phase of arrest in the slowdown of infections – explains the researcher – the numbers of the next 3-4 days, which reflect the transmission of the virus in the 10-14 previous days, they will tell us if we are in a recovery phase “.

Covid weekly monitoring, Sicily with Rt 0.71 and low risk: only Sardinia does better

by Gioacchino Amato


Yellow zone effect

In the lead Palermo, where 265 of the 578 Sicilian cases were recorded yesterday. “In the week that is about to end, and in which Palermo records the highest average number of new cases in the resident population, we are observing about 72 new positives per 100 thousand inhabitants at the regional level,” says Muggeo. More and more distant from the 50 weekly cases necessary for the white zone. It is difficult to say whether the arrest in the reduction of cases is attributable to the wrong behaviors or the diffusion of the variants, or both factors. Certainly, the slow recovery is starting again, two weeks after the start of the yellow zone, which came into effect on February 15.

The expert: “The red zone? A lifesaver. So Sicily avoided 280 deaths”

by Giusi Spica


The nightmare variants

“What is worrying is not the original strain – explains Carmelo Iacobello, Head of Infectious Diseases at Cannizzaro in Catania – but the variants that could accelerate the spread of the virus at a time when only a small part of the population is still immunized. to build up the pressure on hospitals which for the moment has subsided. In my ward there are 24 inpatients out of 48 beds “.

Covid, fear of variants. All over Sicily is hunting for the English one

by Giusi Spica


The squeeze on travel

For Massimo Farinella, head of Infectious Diseases at Covid hospital Cervello in Palermo, imagining a white Sicily in an Italy that goes towards orange or red is unlikely: “In the regions of the Center and the North, the variants have made not so much contagions as well as hospitalizations. There is an increasing trend that can still be localized, but with a clear predominance of variants. A total and indiscriminate blocking of movements makes no sense, but interrupting the circulation between regions serves to contain the spread. The others two actions to do are to establish local red zones where outbreaks occur, such as in San Giuseppe Jato and San Cipirello, and to vaccinate as many people as possible in the shortest time possible “. So far, about 300,000 Sicilians have received at least the first dose, 7 percent of the population. Far from the 80 percent that the regional government plans to immunize within the next six months.

This post is also available in: English