Three mistakes of Italian governments during the Covid emergency: time to take stock

The Ukrainian conflict has removed the pandemic from the spotlight and, for the first time, has given it its proper media weight. The pages of Italian newspapers (not to mention foreign ones) have been full of scenarios, analyzes and comments on the war in Europe for a month now. The space dedicated to Covid-19 is increasingly limited, or destined for the last pages. The state of emergency expires on March 31 and the government has decided not to renew it. The latest decree approved by the Council of Ministers provides for the end of the restrictions in the coming months. The road map of openings defined by the Draghi government and illustrated in the press conference seems to anticipate a new-found normality.

Having reached the end of this pandemic emergency, or at least of the state of emergency in Italy, the time has come to take stock. Look in the mirror, take up the choices of our governments and try to interpret them. Highlighting the mistakes made by trying, simultaneously, to outline a common thread that helps us to connect them.

Three main errors: a lack of transparency on scientific data and road maps ; the postponement of the coveted normality; excessive regulation.

Even in the less acute phases of the pandemic, the Conte 2 and Draghi governments let themselves be carried away by excessive rigor, which led them to act in a disordered and irrational way. Instead, if anything, to anticipate and provide citizens with detailed guidelines for possible closures, or to gradually define a reopening plan, they preferred to wait for events and react to them. An attitude that, together with the bombastic proclamations of the ministers, often based on false premises, made most of the choices incomprehensible. And the volatility of the situation cannot serve as a mitigating factor.

Let's take the example of the UK. The choice of the British government was as simple as it was effective: citizens, while respecting the main pandemic plan, named "A", were aware of the existence of a possible, but no less precise plan "B", more restrictive than the first.

Transparency has failed: governments did not provide citizens with scientific evidence such as to justify the drastic restrictions and, at the same time, without setting verifiable objectives in health and epidemiological terms. The result is obvious: senseless closures decided within a few days, maximum uncertainty for entire economic sectors, such as restaurateurs and tourism operators, struggling with decrees and Dpcm, opening of schools constantly postponed and disproportionate recourse to online teaching.

Delaying the return to pre -Covid normality has been a constant in the Italian pandemic management. The government, on the one hand, promised imminent reopening and on the other continued to put in place restrictions. On the one hand it bragged about the feats in the health field, on the other it tightened the mesh of our freedom. Also in this case, the distance between Italy and the main European countries is abysmal. While in France and Germany, and even earlier in the United Kingdom, in recent months it was decided to eliminate the latest restrictions, in Italy it is only May 1st, over a month, the symbolic date of a normality close to pre -Covid times. Despite the comforting numbers of intensive care and daily positive cases, we are unfortunately witnessing a too slow farewell to restrictions. In fact, while Europe has returned to a situation of normality, Italy is the only country to remain conditioned by the line of closures and fear.

The last error includes both of the above. The choice to regulate, oblige and prohibit represents the essence of the approach of Italian governments to the health emergency. Completely in contrast with an approach based on the conscious choice of the citizen, on the persuasion of the usefulness of vaccines and on freedom. On the contrary of proposing, accompanying and convincing, it was decided to take the shortcut of prohibiting, restricting and finally obliging.

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Tue, 29 Mar 2022 03:53:00 +0000.