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Fourth wave, unvaccinated people at risk

TORONTO – Sudden surge in cases, increased hospitalizations, growth in ICU admissions and deaths. In summary, a new wave of the pandemic, with governments forced to implement new restrictions, up to the lockdown, in its thousand shades.

Since Covid-19 changed our lives, we have now learned very well to decipher these dynamics that chase and repeat each other: first, second, third wave, although different in epidemiological incidence and duration, they have all had the same path. But faced with the hypothesis of a future potential fourth wave, next autumn, should we expect a similar trend to the previous ones?

In recent weeks, virologists, experts and the political class of many countries are trying to give an answer to this question, starting from the assumption that now, compared to the past, we have in our hands a new weapon against covid-19 and its fearsome variants: vaccines, which are proving extremely effective against the coronavirus.

However, there remains – here in Canada, as in Italy and in the rest of the world – a substantial pocket of vaccinoscettici and no vax – who have freely chosen not to take the vaccine. According to many epidemiologists, the fourth wave will mainly affect them. And this is because with the vaccines currently available, the contagion is strongly limited and, at the same time, the hypothesis of hospitalization or intensive care is almost eliminated. Among the experts it seems now established that even here in Canada we will experience a wave. “It is practically certain – said the virologist Isaac Bogoch – we will have a fourth wave. Just look at what is happening in England or the United States, for example. When you reopen the economy and still have millions of unvaccinated, the result is that”.

In Italy last week the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, through its monthly report, highlighted how the vast majority of people hospitalized and in intensive care units are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. The alarm, according to the Italian health authorities, is if anything for a fairly substantial slice of over 60s who do not want to get vaccinated. According to Italian virologists, it will be precisely among these people that Covid-19 will hit hardest, fueled in transmission even for the unvaccinated in the most active segment of the population, the one that has the most social contacts with others, that is, the under 40s.

Also last week, the American CDC confirmed how at this moment, in the United States, “a pandemic in the pandemic” is actually underway: the first, which concerns immunized and partially vaccinated, is now largely under control and no longer frightens. The second, however, concerns the unvaccinated, is totally out of control and threatens the economic recovery of the country.

Here in Canada the experts have taken more or less the same positions. Epidemiologist Colin Furness, interviewed by Global News, pointed out that the greatest risk in the future will concern no vaxes. “The fourth wave – he said – will be an experience that will mainly concern unvaccinated people”.

At this point, politicians are also called upon to make decisions. In Italy we have seen how the government led by Mario Draghi has decided to take a hard line. In fact, Italy was the first European country to introduce the obligation to have a vaccine for all health personnel, including pharmacists. In addition to this, the majority is debating the possible vaccination obligation for the school sector and the introduction of a green pass for places open to the public – such as bars, restaurants – and for public transport. The virologist Massimo Bassetti, in light of this, has proposed the hard line even for the unvaccinated.

The solution, according to Bassetti, will not be represented by closures: “We cannot afford others, it would be too serious – he explained -: it will mean that we have not made Italians understand how important vaccination is. At that point, the measures against those who do not vaccinate will have to be further tightened. Are you unvaccinated? Don’t go out.”

“Have you decided not to get vaccinated, to put your health at risk, but also that of others? Well – he added -, the vaccinated will make a normal life, the unvaccinated will close themselves at home”.  “On the other hand – he concluded – once I gave you all the possibilities, I explained to you, I brought you the vaccine door to door, on the mountain and you did not want to do it, if there will be restrictive measures obviously they will only concern the unvaccinated “.

A line that was espoused on Monday by Matteo Renzi, who proposed to establish red zones, in case there was a surge in cases, only for the no vax. And yesterday Furness himself proposed the idea again for Ontario. “If the contagion returns to being out of control – underlined the Canadian virologist – I believe that the restrictions must be more targeted, more selective”. In short, the whole of society cannot pay the price for the no vax that by not vaccinating itself not only endangers itself, but also all the others.

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