Prime Minister Draghi just announced that Italy opens up starting April 26.
By saying that Italy opens up, he means most regions will turn yellow. “Yellow” allows us to move freely in designated regions, and restaurants will be able to open for both lunch and dinner. This will be for outdoor seating/dining only. However, the 10 p.m. curfew will still be in effect. Inter-regional movement is still limited to essential business and personal matters.
The Italian news and editorial commentary programs are all abuzz. I’ve been suffering for days from the whiplash of all the impassioned arguments from all sides. Stay closed! Open everything! Get some real traction on the vaccinations first! Adopt a nationalized strategy/approach! We’ve been hearing it all while new infections float around anywhere from 12k to 18k a day. I constantly check the map of the regions, which has been mostly orange and red for weeks. Talk about living in purgatory.
But I trust Draghi, and I’m banking on him seeing a coming fork in the road. He’s saying it’s a “calculated risk (read this wantedinrome.com article for the broader story). We’re hearing that the infection rate has been coming down (though I’d like to see a bigger dip) and vaccinations are ramping up (most days are around 300k). Finally, the older population is getting its priority focus for vaccinations after regions made a mess of liberally interpreting “essential” workers and pushing the elderly out of the way, and making them wait. If you weren’t aware, estimates are that 86% of Covid deaths in Italy are in people over seventy. So, a lot of blame being hurled for deaths that could’ve been prevented.
Read my post about Italy’s messy vaccine rollout.
As Italy opens up, will its residents behave responsibly?
While I trust Draghi, I remain dubious of human nature. I understand the fatigue of having one’s wings clipped for much longer than we’d anticipated. But, with that fatigue can come the disease of impatience and wanting to rush ahead and past this royal heap of a mess. Impatience could very well lead us back into another indeterminable lockdown.
As Italy opens up, will the vaccinations falter?
First, we had the AstraZeneca vaccine pause, then the Johnson & Johnson pause. Both have been for a minuscule percentage of deaths relating to thrombosis blood clots. Understandably, people are racing to understand exactly why this is happening. Evidence is emerging that this may be due to an extremely rare clotting disorder.
From latimes.com (read the full article by Karen Kaplan here):
“Scientists do have some clues about how a vaccine that uses an adenovirus could wind up triggering a rare blood clotting disorder.
Some of them believe the seven women may have suffered a condition called autoimmune thrombocytopenia. Usually, it happens because the immune system mistakenly attacks a patient’s blood platelets, the cells the body uses to form clots. Paradoxically, patients with the condition also develop dangerous blood clots in the brain, lungs, legs or abdomen.
A study of 11 patients in Europe who developed blood clots after getting the AstraZeneca vaccine found that all of them had high levels of antiplatelet factor 4 antibodies — a sign that they, too, might have had autoimmune thrombocytopenia.”
Vaccine risk will never be ZERO, but the odds of clotting are WAY higher with Covid.
I try to keep in mind as Italy opens up and vaccinations ramp up, that the risk of developing and dying from blood clots is much higher if a person gets Covid.
Just yesterday cbsnews.com reported (read the full article by Tucker Reals and Steve Berriman):
“That equates to a risk of CVT 10-times greater for people who catch the coronavirus than for those who get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and 8-times greater for those given the AstraZeneca shot.”
I’ll gladly take the vaccine odds.
Finally, I’ll soon be able to schedule my vaccine.
Every region has a different schedule. Here in Liguria, they’ve just published dates for different age groups. My group can start signing up on April 23 (and online as early as 11 p.m. the night before). Woohoo! While, if I had my choice, I’d pick Pfizer, I’ll happily take AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson.
Italy Opens Up for tourism starting June 2?
That the hope, as outlined in this article from thelocal.it
“Italy’s tourism minister last week proposed June 2nd as a possible date for allowing non-essential travel to restart, though this has not been officially confirmed, and no further details were given.”
The full article is well worth a read to get a fuller perspective of all the interrelated pieces as Italy opens up more broadly. While I’d love to see Italy rockin’ again with happy tourists, I remain dubious at both the wisdom and probability of such an ambitious date.
For now, we celebrate that “movement” is afoot. But, one step at a time, right?
I remember a country song that played on the radio when I was a kid, “One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus.” My sisters and I used to make fun of the hard “twang” and exaggerate the delivery of the lyrics as we mimicked the singer. But these days, it has become a mantra that I utter to keep myself sane and hopeful. Yes, one day at a time…