Covid in Italy, Gimbe monitoring: increasing infections, hospitalisations and deaths
Covid in Italy: independent monitoring by the Gimbe Foundation shows an increase in new cases (86,412 vs 69,060, i.e. +25.1%) and an increase in deaths (498 vs 437, i.e. +14%, of which 14 related to previous periods) in the week 24-30 November 2021 compared with the previous week
There was also an increase in currently positive cases (194,270 vs 154,510, +39,760, i.e. +25.7%), people in home isolation (188,360 vs 149,353, +39,007, i.e. +26.1%), admissions with symptoms (5,227 vs 4,597, +630, i.e. 13.7%) and intensive care (683 vs 560, +123, i.e. +22%).
Covid situation in Italy: analysis by the President of the Gimbe Foundation
The president of the Gimbe Foundation, Nino Cartabellotta, said that ‘for six consecutive weeks the number of new weekly cases has been increasing nationwide (+22%) with a 7-day moving average that has more than quintupled: from 2,456 on 15 October to 12,345 on 30 November’.
The increased viral circulation is documented by the increase in the ratio of positives to persons tested (from 3.6% to 17.1%), the ratio of positives to molecular buffers (from 2.4% to 7.2%) and positives to rapid antigenic buffers (from 0.07% to 0.38%).
In all regions there was a percentage increase in new cases: from 3.2% in Abruzzo and Umbria to 39% in Marche.
In 98 provinces the incidence is equal to or greater than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and in 16 regions all the provinces exceed this threshold: Abruzzo, Calabria, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Piedmont, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria and Veneto. In 32 provinces, there are more than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants: Trieste (635), Bolzano (552), Gorizia (496), Rimini (362), Treviso (342), Forlì-Cesena (321), Padua (321), Venice (300), Vicenza (298), Aosta (286), Pordenone (252), Ravenna (245), Ascoli Piceno (234), Imperia (233), Udine (219), Bologna (213), Rovigo (213), Belluno (209), Pesaro and Urbino (203), Fermo (200), Ferrara (192), Trento (188), Verona (184), Viterbo (177), Varese (176), Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (164), Cremona (164), Rome (161), Genoa (160), Monza and Brianza (157), Ancona (155) and Como (151).
The number of deaths is on the increase: 498 in the last seven days, of which 14 relate to previous periods, with an average of 71 per day compared to 62 in the previous week.
COVID IN ITALY: BEDS OCCUPIED
The Gimbe Foundation’s head of health services research, Renata Gili, states that ‘on the hospital front, there has been a further increase in the number of beds occupied by Covid patients: compared to the previous week, there was a 13.7% increase in the medical area and a 22% increase in intensive care’.
On a national level, as of 23 November, the occupancy rate is 9% in the medical area and 8% in the critical care area, with significant regional differences: the threshold of 15% for the medical area and 10% for the critical care area are both exceeded in the autonomous province of Bolzano (20% for the medical area and 11% for the critical care area, respectively) and in Friuli-Venezia Giulia (23% for the medical area and 14% for the critical care area, respectively).
Moreover, in the medical area, Valle d’Aosta (21%) is above the threshold, while in the critical area, Lazio (10.3%) and Umbria (13%) exceed the threshold.
The operational director of the Gimbe Foundation, Marco Mosti, reports that ‘daily admissions to intensive care continue to increase: the 7-day moving average has gone from 48 admissions/day in the previous week to 56′.
COVID VACCINATIONS IN ITALY
In the field of vaccines, 102,127,530 doses had been delivered as of 1 December (updated at 06.15).
Mosti says that ‘considering that supplies in the last seven days amount to only 433,000 doses, the current pace of third-dose administrations has reduced mRNA vaccine stocks to 6.1 million’.
On the subject of administration, as of 1 December (update at 06.15) 79.7% of the population (47,226,119) have received at least one dose of vaccine (+297,415 compared to the previous week) and 77.1% (45,683,073) have completed the vaccination cycle (+247,367 compared to the previous week).
In the last week, the number of administrations increased (no. 1,984,561) with a 7-day moving average of 306,445 administrations/day: third doses took off (+52.5% compared to the previous week), flanked by first doses which were again on the rise (+34.7% compared to the previous week).
Compared to the targets set by the commissioner’s structure for the period 1-12 December, the objective for weekdays (400-450 thousand doses from Monday to Friday and 350 thousand on Saturdays) appears realistic, considering that since 24 November the daily doses administered on weekdays have been steadily above 300 thousand.
Less likely to reach 300 thousand administrations on holidays: during the last month, in fact, on Sundays the administrations have never reached 100 thousand, except on November 28, when the administrations were just over 150 thousand.
If we turn our attention to the newly vaccinated, after two weeks of stabilisation at around 127,000, in the last week the number of newly vaccinated rose to 168,377 (+31.5%).
However, out of the 6.8 million unvaccinated people, two groups are growing too slowly, which is a cause for concern: on the one hand, 2.57 million people over 50 who are at high risk of serious illness and hospitalisation, and on the other hand, 1.16 million in the 12-19 bracket, which has a negative impact on school safety.
Analysing coverage, those with at least one dose of vaccine vary widely in the different age groups: from 97.4% of the over-80s to 76.6% of the 12-19 age group.
The same is true for third-dose coverage, which reached 52.1% among the over-80s, while it still stands at 20.2% in the 70-79 age group and 16% in the 60-69 age group.
The Gimbe Foundation also focuses on effectiveness.
Data from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità confirm the reduction in vaccine efficacy 6 months after completion of the primary cycle, confirming the need for a booster.
In detail: the effectiveness on the diagnosis drops on average from 72.5% for those vaccinated within 6 months to 40.1% for those vaccinated for more than 6 months; the effectiveness on severe disease drops on average from 91.6% for those vaccinated within 6 months to 80.9% for those vaccinated for more than 6 months.
THE THIRD DOSE OF COVID VACCINE IN ITALY
Chapter third dose. On 1 December (update at 06.15) have been administered 6,543,004 third doses with a moving average of 7 days that exceeds 250 thousand administrations per day.
On the official repository of the Extraordinary Commissioner on 1 December the audience for the third dose (n. 20,548,124) was updated by adding all the people vaccinated (with additional dose or booster) according to the indications of the ministerial circulars of 8 October, 3 November, 11 November and 25 November.
The national vaccination coverage rate for third doses calculated on the official population is 31.8% with clear regional differences: from 21.6% in Friuli-Venezia Giulia to 44.5% in Molise. Finally, space is given to the Omicron variant.
Variant B.1.1.529 has been given the name Omicron by the World Health Organisation, classifying it as a variant of concern because of the numerous mutations present.
However, to date the available data do not allow us to know whether, compared to Delta, the Omicron variant is more transmissible, causes more severe disease, is more likely to re-infect and may reduce the immune response to vaccines.
Finally, Cartabellotta explains that ‘in this phase of uncertainty we need to strengthen all interventions, following the principle of maximum precaution.
In particular, we need to increase sequencing activities by sharing the results in the Gisaid database, enhance case tracking and carefully monitor areas with rapidly increasing incidence.
For the population, the already known behaviours remain fundamental: get vaccinated and undergo the third dose when indicated, with maximum priority for the elderly and frail, use a mask in closed environments, possibly FFP2 if crowded, respect social distancing and ventilate rooms frequently’.