Italy: 31.2% more hospitalisations and 37.4% more deaths due to Covid in 7 days
Italy, increase in hospitalisations and deaths from Covid: “further surge of new cases that have exceeded 1.2 million, an increase of almost 50% compared to the previous week”
The independent monitoring by the Gimbe Foundation shows that in the week 5-11 January 2022, compared to the previous week, there was a sharp increase in new cases (1,207,689 vs 810,535, i.e. +49%) and deaths (1,514 vs 1,102, i.e. +37.4%, of which 95 referred to previous periods).
There was also a sharp increase in positive cases (2,134,139 vs 1,265,297, +868,842, or +68.7%), people in home isolation (2,115,395 vs 1,250,993, +864,402, or +69.1%), admissions with symptoms (17,067 vs 12,912, +4,155, or +32.2%) and intensive care (1,677 vs 1,392, +285, or +20.5%).
The president of the Gimbe Foundation, Nino Cartabellotta, said that ‘in the last week there has been a further surge of new cases, which have exceeded 1.2 million, with an increase of almost 50% compared to the previous week and a 7-day moving average that increases from 128,801 on 5 January to 172,559 on 11 January (+34%)’.
ITALY GRAPPLING WITH COVID: ANTIGENIC AND MOLECULAR TESTING
Chapter testing. There was a slight increase (+6.8%) in the number of total swabs, from 6,487,127 in the week of 29 December-4 January to 6,926,539 in the week of 5-11 January, due to the increase in both rapid swabs (+299,066; 6.6%) and molecular swabs (+140,346; +7.1%).
However, the increased testing activity only marginally affects the growth of new cases, given the increase in the positivity rates of swabs: the 7-day moving average rose from 8.2% to 14.3% for rapid antigenic swabs and from 24% to 25.5% for molecular swabs.
In terms of hospitalisation, Renata Gili, head of research on health services at the Gimbe Foundation, says that ‘the number of beds occupied by Covid patients is still increasing: compared to the previous week, +20.5% in the medical area and +32.2% in intensive care’.
As of 11 January, the national occupancy rate for Covid patients is 26.6% in the medical area and 18.2% in the critical care area.
With the exception of Molise and Sardinia, all the regions exceed the 15% threshold in the medical area, with Valle d’Aosta reaching 53.5%; with the exception of Basilicata, Molise and Puglia, all exceed the 10% threshold in the critical area, with the province of Trento standing at 31.1%.
The director of operations of the Gimbe Foundation, Marco Mosti, reports that ‘daily admissions to intensive care have increased, with the 7-day moving average rising to 146 admissions/day compared to 125 the previous week’.
Cartabellotta explains that ‘high vaccination coverage significantly cushions the impact of viral circulation on hospital services.
However, the huge number of new cases is progressively saturating the hospitals, both because it ‘meets’ a susceptible population that is too large (2.2 million 0-4 year olds who cannot be vaccinated, 8.6 million unvaccinated and over 15 million waiting for the third dose) and, to a lesser extent, because of the immune escape phenomena of the omicron variant’.
The independent monitoring of the Gimbe Foundation shows an increase in deaths: 1,514 in the last seven days (of which 95 referred to previous periods), with an average of 216 per day compared to 157 in the previous week.
COVID: THE NUMBERS RELATED TO VACCINES IN ITALY
As far as vaccines are concerned, as of 12 January (updated at 07.23) 117,159,196 doses have been delivered, of which 2,256,000 doses of Pfizer paediatric vaccine.
Mosti adds that ‘with the delivery of 2.1 million non-paediatric doses in the last 7 days, the stocks of mRNA vaccines for the over 12 are made up of 2,413,978 Pfizer doses, while for Moderna the balance of available doses is ‘negative’ (-3,495,462), as the official reporting continues to disregard the fact that only half a dose is used for booster shots’.
If we look at the administrations, on 12 January (update at 07.23) 82.8% of the population (n. 49,058,595) has received at least one dose of vaccine (+520,427 compared to the previous week) and 79% (n. 46,812,850) has completed the vaccination cycle (+327,923).
In the last week, the number of administrations increased (4,038,641), with a 7-day moving average of 580,759 administrations/day: the number of third doses increased by 21.9% (3,275,943) and the number of newly vaccinated people by 62.1% (483,512). In terms of coverage, those with at least one dose of vaccine are very variable in the different age groups (from 98% of the over 80s to 18.4% of the 5-11 age group), as well as in terms of recalls, which in the over 80s reached 77.8%, in the 70-79 age group 70.1% and in the 60-69 age group 61.9%.
In the week 3-9 January 2022, 483,512 new vaccinees were registered (+62.1%) compared to 298,253 in the previous week.
The increase concerns in particular the 5-11 age group (267,412; +53.3%) and the 12-19 age group (61,778; +65.5%), while the recent introduction of compulsory vaccination for the over 50s has not had much effect at the moment, since only 73,690 people have been newly vaccinated in this age group.
As of 11 January, there are 8.61 million people without even a single dose of vaccine: 2.98 million belong to the 5-11 year olds, over 800,000 to the 12-19 year olds and 2.21 million are over 50 at high risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
As of 12 January (updated at 07:23), 761,776 doses have been administered in the 5-11 year old age group.
In 674,225 have received at least one dose of vaccine (of which 88,682 have completed the vaccination cycle), with a national coverage rate of 18.3% with clear regional differences: from 8.6% in Marche to 33.4% in Puglia.
As of 12 January (update at 07.23) have been administered 24,314,983 third doses with a moving average at 7 days of 466,488 administrations per day. On the basis of the official population (39,539,013), updated on 10 January, the national coverage rate for third doses is 61.5% with clear regional differences: from 53.4% in Sicily to 70.5% in Valle d’Aosta.
Data from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Italy show a reduction in the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine from 3 months after the completion of the primary cycle and its recovery after the administration of the booster
In particular: the efficacy on diagnosis progressively decreases from 77.6% for those vaccinated with two doses within 90 days to 41.6% for those vaccinated for more than 120 days, and then rises again to 75% after the booster; the efficacy on severe disease progressively decreases from 95.7% for those vaccinated with two doses within 90 days to 88.8% for those vaccinated for more than 120 days, and then rises again to 97.8% after the booster.
Overall, in people vaccinated with a complete cycle (plus any booster dose), compared to those not vaccinated, in the various age groups the incidence of diagnosis is reduced (by 35.3-80.3%), but above all of serious illness (by 85.8-94.1% for ordinary admissions; 92.6-97.2% for intensive care) and death (by 81.1-95%).
Cartabellotta also points out that ‘we are in an extremely critical phase of the pandemic, in which distorted optimistic narratives cloud the inadequacy of measures to slow the curve of contagion and underestimate the risks to people’s health and the country’s economy.
First of all, the large number of new cases, which is constantly growing, after having sent the territorial services into a state of disarray, is leading to the progressive saturation of hospitals, with a limitation of planned surgeries, even in cancer patients, and a reduction in care capacity, partly because health personnel are now at their wits’ end. ‘
Secondly,” he continues, “the huge number of positive people is progressively paralysing many essential services: from transport to schools, from healthcare to public offices. Lastly, unless there is a last-minute ‘injection’ of beds or a change in the criteria for classifying hospitalised Covid patients, by the end of the month many regions will be in the orange zone and some will be at risk of going into the red zone.
A colour that would certify failure in the management of the fourth wave, despite the availability of vaccines that are very effective in preventing the serious disease,’ he concludes.