Has the Venice region found the right course of action to combat the coronavirus epidemic? Some observers think so, especially when they compare the 169 deaths recorded in Veneto (on March 22, Sunday) with the terrible Lombard toll: 3,456 dead.
The two regions of Italy do not have the same approach. In Veneto, the health policy consists in betting on a generalized screening. In the village of Vo’Euganeo, 3,300 inhabitants, from whom Adriano Trevisan, a 78-year-old mason, the first Italian victim, who died on February 21, had come, was decided to test all the inhabitants.
Those who tested positive were quarantined before they even started to show symptoms. And it is a success according to the results presented by Andrea Crisanti, professor of microbiology at the University of Padua, and by Antonio Cassone, former director of infectious diseases at the Italian Institute of Health. While there were 89 positive cases in the town at the start of the tests in late February, there are only seven patients today.
Milan and Bergamo hospitals quickly overwhelmed
Already, the regional government of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia province has decided to multiply tests in other municipalities and to quarantine even asymptomatic people, to break the spread of the virus. “The approach seems relevant to me in Veneto. They tested early and isolated those who were positive. But still it is necessary to have tests in sufficient quantity “, comments Professor William Dab, epidemiologist at the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, and former Director General of Health.
Conversely, the Milan region did not do the same. In Lombardy, apart from the first villages where the Covid-19 appeared, in Codogno, where the epidemic has declined considerably, there has not been any mass screening of the population. And patients, even with mild symptoms, have flocked to hospitals, which have a good reputation.
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They ended up clogging up establishments in Milan and Bergamo, which quickly found themselves overwhelmed and contaminated. “There is also a nosocomial aspect in the coronavirus: it spreads very quickly in the hospital and can strike caregivers. This scenario unfortunately happened in Lombardy, ”adds Professor William Dab. To learn from the transalpine experience, he proposed, in France, “to generalize tests on a representative part of the population. Thus we will have a better knowledge of the circulation of the virus, and we will be able to adapt the response more easily. “