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Because the numerini heralded by Conte in Parliament are dancers

Because the numerini heralded by Conte in Parliament are dancers

What Conte said and what he didn't say in Parliament. The analysis of the columnist Gianfranco Polillo

In the anesthetic and slightly caramelized speech of the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, the numbers have dominated. The purposes are transparent. Demonstrate the rationality of government action, grappling with an epidemiological context that is too dramatic. And therefore underline, in some way, the irresponsibility of those who had opposed the government with the "great refusal". The denial of that "confrontation table" that Conte, without being discouraged, had re-proposed. "But if there were second thoughts, I can confirm right now that the Government's proposal remains unchanged". All the more so since it "does not imply a confusion of roles" or "an overlapping of responsibilities", which remains exclusive to the Government. Miracles of dialectic acrobatics.

But let's get back to the numbers. That objective fact that conditions all the players in the Italian political affair: majority and opposition. The first comparison, fortunately for Italy, is with the rest of Europe. In the last two weeks, the premier recalls, in most of the continent's countries the increase in cases has been "over 150 infections per 100,000 inhabitants". In what interval: a day, a week, a month? Conte doesn't say it. Presumably this should be a daily figure. But this is not the only defect that risks altering the overall picture. Better then not to risk and remain generic: in Italy the infections – adds the Prime Minister – are "less than half of those detected in France, about half of those in Spain and just under half of those in the United Kingdom".

An only more apparent precision is that which occurs in the following passages. “From October 19th to 25th, it appears that the number of new cases almost doubled compared to the previous week (100.46 cases compared to 52.960). Yesterday, Sunday 1 November, in Italy there were 378,129 infected ”. Impressive when compared to the peak of the first wave. In fact, on 19 April 2020, a number of infections equal to 108,257 cases were recorded, according to the Civil Protection database. The maximum before the gradual descent. Except that this fact was not indicated in the speech of the Prime Minister, so all his subsequent considerations appear limp.

“94% of the infected (357,288) – continues Conte in his speech – are in home isolation. While at the peak of the first wave only 51.8% of infected people were treated at home, today only 5% (18,962 people) are hospitalized with symptoms, compared to 41.5% at the peak of the first wave, while only 0.5% (1,939 people) are hospitalized in intensive care against 6.7% ". Reflecting on these figures it would therefore seem that today's situation is infinitely better than the nightmare of last spring. If that were the case, the major concerns would not be understood. But is it really so?

Unfortunately, the following steps do not offer enough light. In fact, it is said that the posts occupied in intensive care are equal to 1,939, as mentioned above. As a percentage, 21% of the "beds already available, in the total of 9052 places, and 18% of those that will also be obtained with the further distribution by Commissioner Arcuri of new equipment for a total of 10,841.". Except that during the first wave the maximum number of intensive care – again according to the Civil Protection database – was reached on April 3 with a number of hospitalized people equal to 4,068. It follows that if at the time, as Conte says, "Italian hospitals had 5179 beds in intensive care", the employment rate was 78.5 percent. Differences, between the two phases, which speak for themselves.

A figure that would be even higher if we used the data just provided: 6.7% of an audience, which is not known, if not using that database, already indicated. But, in this case, the number of intensive care units would be well above (7,250) of the places available. Which could also be considered the rotation that may have occurred: since those beds are occupied only temporarily. But, a fortiori, in this case the comparison would be more reassuring.

However, beyond any speculation, the inconsistencies of the numbers are evident. As confirmed by this further gem. "I remember, in fact" – says Giuseppe Conte – that at the beginning of the emergency Italian hospitals had 5179 beds in intensive care. During these months, we have distributed 3,370 new seats and new fans. The number of beds activated or activated to date is therefore 9052, plus 75% ". I miss it for nothing. On the basis of these numbers, the total seats are equal to 8549. At a minimum, unless there is something more sensational, a trivial summation error, which is nevertheless repeated: "Commissioner Arcuri also still has 1789 fans available to be distributed in the next days depending on the trend that will bring the beds in intensive care to 10,841. Which would be right if we started from a base of 9052 beds. But if the starting figure were that of the sum just corrected, then the number of beds available would be reduced to 10,338. Still a good number compared to the first wave. Except that the number of the current infected is three times as much today.

This is the most worrying aspect. So far the virus has appeared to be more pervasive, but less lethal: at least according to the data provided by the Prime Minister and the technical staff surrounding him. Both good news and bad news, the developments of which are however unpredictable. Of course, it is not up to us to venture into a field that is not ours. However, we would like to give a suggestion. If you want to have effective communication, which is essential to induce more correct behavior, then don't neglect to do the math well. The numbers are stronger and more stubborn than any exhortation. The presence of an accountant among many illustrious luminaries can make a difference.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Mon, 02 Nov 2020 16:59:29 +0000.