On the eve of April 8, when the Wuhan lockdown – a much stiffer lockdown than ours – was lifted, China as a whole declared 62 new cases, most of them imported. The previous day 32. Yesterday, in Piedmont, my region that I have never felt so geographically distant, 394 new confirmed infections were found. In neighboring Lombardy 920.
To open. Or rather, we start to open, because the others do it too, because summer is approaching and below we hope that the heat will help us; because we hope to have learned a series of rules and to keep them for a long time, because the virus perhaps, who knows, it is said, has become less aggressive. In fact, we closed late to safeguard the production sector and we are now opening, botched, to safeguard the production sector. Even the epidemic picture bends before the hypothesis of a strangled economy.
The data improves, but the contagion in Italy is active, indeed lively, and to say that on 4 May not a free everyone does not at all make the idea of what we are about to do, that is to go into a danger, with more individual awareness than beginning, with greater structural protection, of course, but in a situation that is probably not too dissimilar from that of mid-February. We are saying we will have to live with the virus, but we should say we are going to challenge the virus. Therefore, those who know they are vulnerable raise their guard even further from here on out.
Fortunately, out there, we will have the app to protect ourselves. Sooner or later it will come. Suppose it is already mid-July, over 60% of the Italian population has the app downloaded and working on the smartphone, bluetooth has proven to be effective on the necessary distance range and our sensitive data are processed anonymously by a public body. We are in the best scenario but, bad surprise, I receive an alert that warns me that I have been next to an infected person. What I’m supposed to do quarantine for fourteen days. But who will pay me those unexpected holidays? Will they be mutual days? And will the sovereign app determine it?
According to a study published on Science by Luca Ferretti and his group from Oxford, the contact tracing effective if the isolation of all alerted people occurs within three days of the onset of symptoms in the infected person. Three days which include, for that infected person, having recognized the symptoms, having consulted the family doctor, having been subjected to a tampon and having received the result; for all the others who have discovered themselves at risk, having put their lives on standby again. In Turin, my city never so far away, hundreds of suspicious case reports sent by family doctors were lost due to the overload of a mailbox. IS even today, they confirm me from different parts, to obtain a tampon in the presence of symptoms that are not at all obvious. Here are the conditions with which we enter the era of technological salvation. I wonder then: the chain that goes to me that I conscientiously install the app to the hospital laboratory has been strengthened in every link to ensure the efficiency of this new delicate mechanism? Will the same efficiency be guaranteed everywhere, even in November, when confusion with other seasonal diseases trigger an enormous amount of false alarms?
After ensuring the correct functioning of the gear, then, the main fact remains: everything related to the tracing of contacts, from the installation of the app to the strength of mind to isolate itself when everyone else is out and there are no symptoms of any kind, will be on a voluntary basis. The entire keeping of phase 2 on a voluntary basis.The one to which we are going to undergo the greatest experimentation ever made on our individual responsibility.
It would therefore be providential that an extraordinary example of responsibility came from above. Unfortunately, the concord and composure of the emergency start have long since ended. Among the regions, among politicians, even among experts, we are already tracing in the chronology who underestimated the threat more and more seriously, who did not understand or worse, who understood and did not speak. If as a child every quarrel resulted in he started first !, in contagion the opposite charge: he started after him !. The accusations are answered with other stronger accusations, or by claiming proudly: we did everything well. We are doing everything right. Indeed, we would do everything identical. Seriously? Meanwhile, over the trajectories of the pointed indexes, a great Italian amnesty unfolds: it was impossible to predict … even the other countries … Italy then found itself first … an unprecedented situation.
“Sorry” seems to be the hardest word, sang Elton John. Around here a very difficult word. But this time we need to be amazed. In order for the suffering of many not to turn into frustration and then indiscriminate anger, we need something new in our public debate: an assumption of individual and spontaneous responsibility by the main actors of this crisis, before we go back out there. Not of fault: of responsibility, where the responsibilities include underestimations, errors, disorganizations, delays, lightness. Public opinion would be much more comprehensive than previously believed. There is an unprecedented space of compassion for power, because we all recognize the exceptional nature of the circumstances. But it won’t last long. The only signal that I have received so far is sorry for Mayor Gori. Not much, but a start. A forerunner ..
The responsibility, for the moment, delegated to scientists. Not without some inconveniences, for example a Nobel Prize winner like Montagnier who marries conspiracy visions and destroys the efforts of many in ten minutes to arouse a collective awareness about the pandemic. But even here, especially here, no one allows themselves to contradict scientists, ever. In their presence we behave like school children. We pretend to forget that human science, that underestimations, errors, protagonisms, conflicts of interest and cowardice are part of it like any other discipline. At such a moment, this idealization reassures us and makes us comfortable. Calling scientists so respectfully into question, however, looks more and more like a screen: we ask them why we don’t understand each other. And if we make mistakes, it goes without saying, the responsibility not ours, but their advice.
[Il Corriere ha creato una newsletter sul coronavirus – e la fase 2. gratis: ci si iscrive qui]
At least, for once, they appear on television. I have familiarized myself with everyone, because since the lockdown started I have been watching a lot of TV. I don’t miss an evening talk show. In the talks, together with the scientists, there are obviously government representatives, politicians and journalists. Then there are many entrepreneurs and economics experts, lawyers, restaurateurs, tour operators and priests. Representatives of culture? School representatives? I tried to count them and as a champion, I hope quite representative, I chose the eleven prime time talks that I watched in the past week.
In the wake of what will happen with the app, I just report the aggregated data. The guests linked to culture invited to the broadcasts I have seen, considering the areas of the book, cinema, theater, music and even architecture, amount to 12 out of 84 (3 of which are organic in the program schedule). Those of school zero. The arithmetic mean of their ages: 66 years, because Zerocalcare lowers it a bit. No principal, no teacher, no publisher, no film producer, no bookseller. In that dozen, one woman.
I know, one must avoid at all costs to personify the virus, as well as to attribute moral or metaphysical characteristics to it. But sometimes the strong temptation, the temptation to recognize it a bearer of truth, capable of unmasking previous pathologies of the system we live in. Like a gender gap still so conspicuous. Like the hiding of the school and some generations from public debate. Like the marginality of culture, with the exception of some writers or actors who occasionally perform their ornamental function. Like the axiom that school and culture are separate sectors from the rest of social life. Prostheses to attach and detach.
What does this have to do with the health security and civil liability we need so that phase 2 does not become another cataclysm? If the question arises, the problem is even more serious than it seems.
April 27, 2020 (change April 27, 2020 | 08:33)
© RESERVED REPRODUCTION