Lack of differentiated measures in the first stage of COVID 19 epidemic outbreak in Italy

di Angelo Boglione

During Spring 2020, the Italy government led by the PM Prof. Conte issued a considerable number of law decrees of “urgent nature”. Bypassing the parliament, due to extraordinary emergency given by the pandemic situation, the government tried to redesign the public life of the Italian state.
In a very quick escalation, fundamental rights, such as the possibility to assembly and to move freely, were suspended.

One of the first policy mistakes was the non-differentiated measures that was applied along the peninsula.

On ninth march of 2020, the entire nation was locked down in the so called “zona rossa”. There was no difference between the overcrowded, heavy industrialized and epicenter of pandemic Lombardy and the agricultural region of Molise.

With no reasonable argument [1], at that time still “Covid free” regions, such as the island of Sardinia, were treated in the same manner as outbreak zones.

word without meaning

The mistake was aggravated by an incorrect framing delivered by the wrong terminology, especially insofar as the use of the words ‘quarantine’ and ‘lockdown’.

The former, was interpreted by the Italian media as a necessitated measure to apply indiscriminately from the presence of an infection (or even the reasonable suspect of it).

The theatrical way how the Govern proceeded to apply the “quarantena” went far beyond its actual literal meaning (i.e. a precautionary isolation of 40 days), – even in some regions showing no infections -, so that the entire related process lost its  medical meaning, turning out to be a political fence.

The latter term, ‘lockdown’ as is in the Italian info sphere, appeared to be a stereotyped umbrella term with no specific indication, that soon became an all-purpose “restriction”. Its content has been changeable and to be specified time by time, in accordance to the whirling pace of new decrees, changing nature and application of restrictions every time, never clear nor of immediate understanding. 

In essence, “Lockdown” worked as a “white check”.
It was freely fillable as needed: sometimes it was loosed intended for the firms [2], in another occasions it was tightened up for the homeless [3].

“And you shall purge in His name!”

During Spring 2020, the public debate was annihilated, among others, in the name of the Science , impersonated by the newborn “Comitato tecnico Scientifico”[4] (CTS). The CTS, composed by different consultants, has to advise the best public health practice to the government.
After the desecration of the CTS’ minutes[5], it was cleared that the board advice during March 2020 was to make different policies zone by zone.

The government itself disavowed the heavy sponsored board as he preached in his name.

The huge contradiction had no space in the media at the time, but highlights once more that the decisions were not taken following scientific reasons . Only during autumn 2020, with the “colored zone”, we saw a differentiated plan to counter the epidemic spread.






^[1] Deaths in Italy by underlying cause and region of occurence

^[2] https://www.fanpage.it/attualita/focolaio-bartolini-i-lavoratori-azienda-non-ha-mai-chiuso-siamo-fuggiti-per-paura-di-ammalarci/

^[3] https://bologna.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/03/16/news/coronavirus_la_denuncia_multati_anche_i_senzatetto_che_non_possono_stare_a_casa_perche_non_ce_l_hanno_-251436619/

^[4] http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?id=5432&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

^[5] Scarica il documento

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