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There are hypotheses on the table including if Rt returns to 1, which is more than likely following the reopening between now and July 15, according to Merler’s forecasts, we should continue to deal with about 200/300 deaths a day. If it rises to 1.1, the risk is a steady increase in deaths up to 600 per day in mid-July (300 as of June 24).

The disaster was 1.25: up to 1,200-1,300 victims a day. Of course, all of this applies without additional restrictions. To simplify in a scenario – a “free all.”

Another simulation illustrated by Merler shows that if the reboot had been postponed to May 12, the daily deaths could have been half – at 100. The reason? Delaying the restart by 2 weeks would have meant opening with a number of daily cases much lower than the current one.

It is the so-called incidence, which inevitably brings with it a percentage of deaths. The latest CTS report, updated on April 18, counts 157 cases per week for every 100,000 inhabitants. In order for the epidemic to be under control, we need to reach 50. Without reopening, which affects the rise in the infection curve, in 15 days we could have gone down quite a bit.

In this case, always with a Rt of 1, that is, with an infected who infects another, we would have had a lower starting number of infections with the obvious consequence of fewer deaths in prospect. Also on July 15, with a Rt of 1.1, there would have been 200. While with a Rt of 1.25 there would have been several hundred anyway.

Now there is a bit of margin. But it is minimal. We cannot make the Rt rise above 1, and we already started from 0.81. Therefore, the treasury we have, according to Merler’s analysis, is 0.2. And we have already played with it for a while, as shown by the slides shown at the CTS with the restart of school in attendance.

Certainly on the basis of Merler’s calculations, the alternative – which would not have displeased some members of the CTS – could have been to reopen in May with a lower incidence. The fear is that being high, the contagion curve could grow back quickly, forcing new closures. But here political choices came into play – the “calculated risk” invoked by Mario Draghi as it were.

Merler’s accounts take into reason the lowering of the lethality of the virus induced by vaccinations. Thanks to vaccines, COVID is already killing less, and at some point, it will become comparable to a seasonal flu – that is, going from 11 deaths out of a thousand infected, to one. A first date hypothesized by Italy think tank Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) in this sense was June 25. But everything is linked to the pace at which the vaccination campaign is proceeding and, above all, to those who are immunized – the frail must first be protected.

Palazzo Chigi, along with military General Francesco Figliuolo, expects to accelerate further on vaccinations, reaching to protect 80 percent of the frail by May 25. And the reopening will be gradual. Beyond the accounts, the awareness of the CTS is that much will now depend on individual behaviors. Otherwise all that remains is to close down.


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