September 30, 2022

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Corona virus disease. Science is divided on the use of the mask

The obligation to wear a muzzle No.. It is mandatory to wear a muzzle.. and if so, where? These are the questions of the 60 million Italians waiting for the government’s decision in the next few hours on which contexts should leave with commitment and which instead will entrust the choice to the citizens, focusing on individual responsibility. There is a split in the country which is the most appropriate option, and even among virologists, opinions are incompatible.

“The choice about the obligation to wear a mask today is not at all scientific, but a purely political decision,” infectious disease specialist Matteo Bassetti, director of the infectious disease clinic at San Martino Hospital in Genoa, explains to AGI.

This is not because protection is suddenly not needed – only yesterday in Italy we counted 146 deaths and almost 30 thousand new cases – but because people use it poorly. “When the commitment is revoked, we doctors will have to talk to make it useful – says Bassetti -. We should tell Italians who to use it and where: the old and frail in supermarkets will better keep it, for example. Accompany people to avoid That. Breaking down the device we use today, as we do, makes little sense.”

However, Bassetti is of the opinion that masks, while useful, have not greatly affected the development of the epidemic.

“Today, realistically, we will have 100,000 infections a day and we also have external masks, a cosmetic procedure that weakens the usefulness of the protective device: if they remain mandatory from May 1 in cinemas, stadiums and theaters, it will be the only European country. Among other things: We were not able to deliver the vaccination duty in September 2021, despite this, the Italians who were among the best in Europe deserve to be commended, and today are we knocking on the masks?”, yes asks Bassetti. In the meantime, the green driveway will likely also go to the attic. “We should have removed it from March 31, at the end of the emergency,” adds the infectious disease specialist who explains.

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The wisest is virologist Fabrizio Brigliasco, director of health at IRCCS Galeazzi Orthopedic Institute of Milan and professor at Milan State University, who spoke with AGI does not hide the fear that the epidemic may resume. “We have to move toward restoring liberties, but we need a lot of prudence,” he says.

“There are some environments in which the mask should not be removed, because they are at greater risk,” Brigliasco recalls. And what environments are we talking about? And he warns, “Those inside, will surely be kept in movie theaters and theaters. Let’s be careful.” School is a more difficult issue to deal with. “Until the end of the year I will definitely keep them,” explains the virologist, who also doubts the complete removal of the Green Passage.

“For some categories, I will keep them, for example, health workers. The service must be guaranteed, with the intent of reducing the proportion of health worker illnesses and protecting patients with Covid and other diseases who risk not finding a doctor because they are at home sick,” he adds. On the same line, said infectious disease specialist Massimo Galli.

“Closing the rhetoric of masks in public places threatens to limit the lives of the elderly and those, and there are millions of more vulnerable people, even young people, who do not respond to vaccination,” Galle says.

“We have to be honest: the vaccine does not cover infection and is clear, and while it is effective against serious diseases, it is not for everyone.

So for many people, removing the mask would mark the end of social life. Now, as long as we’re talking about theater and cinema, it’s not necessary, but annoying – he adds -. If the problem starts to take public transportation or go shopping, because without masks, I don’t agree with that.”

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But if everyone in Europe does this, how does Italy remain behind? There is also tourist season around the corner. But for Ghali, it is above all a problem of political elections.

“If the rest of Europe takes off their masks, it’s not a good reason to do it here either – he warns – I think we’re trying to win elections across Europe and that’s why we’re also winking at unacceptable situations and it’s annoying. You don’t have to line up.”

The softer position is Massimo Clemente, microbiologist, professor of microbiology and virology at San Raffaele Hospital in Milan and director of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Virology at the same hospital, who explains to AGI: “I will use the mask like sunglasses: when needed.”

And where is it better to use it? “In enclosed spaces such as the theater and on public transport, but also where there is a lot of congestion, it may be a good idea to continue using it, especially during periods of influenza, because there is also seasonal influenza and not only Covid, at least I will do it and will recommend it to friends and relatives” .

He would have kept the masks in some context to protect Andrea Crisanti, the most vulnerable microbiologist at the University of Padua, who explains: “With a virus with such a transmission indicator, masks only protect the weakest and those who have to deal with them: so they should be kept in schools.” And public places, because the state should protect the weak, this is a moral measure.”

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But personal protective equipment, which contains a virus containing Rt equal to the measles virus, is certainly not used to prevent infection.

“It serves to protect the solitary individual – he explains -. In the cinema and theater you spend two hours there, so a sacrifice can be made for the most vulnerable. But the paradigm must be changed: this is done in order to protect others. In the supermarket., for example, To protect the cashiers: some of them may have health problems. However, in the restaurant or in the clubs, it makes no sense: a lot is taken to eat, so let’s stop with masked entry manners and then take him off seated.”

And the green lane? “She did her job by ‘persuading’ people to get vaccinated, and she can be sidelined,” Crisanti concludes.