May 16, 2021

The new minister Bianchi: “The goal for the school is to return to the presence”

Immediate lockdown

For Ricciardi it is urgent to immediately change the strategy to combat the virus: necessary an immediate total lockdown throughout Italy, which also includes the closure of schools without prejudice to essential activities, but of limited duration. In addition to this, tracing must be strengthened and the vaccination campaign strengthened. It is evident that the coexistence plan with the virus adopted so far is ineffective and condemns us to instability, with a heavy number of deaths every day (Saturday 311, ed). I will discuss this with Minister Speranza this week.

Fundamental school for development

The hypothesis of closing schools does not seem to be one of the priorities of the new government. Our boys will have gaps only if we are not able, all together, to put the school in the center, on this President Draghi was very clear, the school is a fundamental tool for development, so the problem is not to recover something here and there, but to put it back at the center – he said the new Minister of Education Patrizio Bianchi in an interview with Gr1 Rai -. Compulsory schools are already in place, for the older ones we need to see how the pandemic is going, we need to avoid a third wave and be very cautious, but we are all working so that the school can return to attendance as soon as possible. Caution also in the words of Agostino Miozzo, CTS coordinator: If even in our country it becomes clear that young people and children are carriers, it certainly must be closed, even if this prospect causes me great pain.

English variant and children

worried too Andrea Crisanti, director of the department of microbiology at the University of Padua: The emergence of variants with high transmissibility and potentially resistant to the vaccine (the Brazilian and the South African, ed) endangers the scenario. It is necessary to intervene as quickly as possible in a surgical way. We need to do some red areas like in Codogno or Vo ‘, with everyone stopped – said a Timeline, on Sky Tg24 -. In England it seems that the English variant actually affects children more frequently. However, there is still a difference between children and adults. The English variant has a much higher transmission rate, which is reflected in both the former and the latter. I think it is still early to say that a variant that has broken through this age barrier. There are still many studies in progress, but at the moment it does not seem that the English variant specifically targets children, i.e. it does not infect them in a particular way compared to others – confirms the Higher Institute of Health (Iss) in an update of the Faq on its website -. In terms of transmissibility, the English variant shows an increase for all age groups, including children.

The case of Israel

The debate broke out a few days ago after an article published online on the British Medical Journal, which speaks of evidence that emerged in Israel and Italy according to which small children infected with new variants are increasing. The magazine cites the case of Corzano, a small town in the province of Brescia, which ended up in the spotlight due to an outbreak. On February 3 – we read on Bmj – 10% (140) of the 1,400 inhabitants of Corzano tested positive for the coronavirus, and 60% were children of school or pre-school age. Many of these are believed to have infected other family members. Then there was the alarm raised by Israeli pediatricians regarding the sharp increase in infections among young people (who are not vaccinated, ed), with more than 50,000 children and adolescents testing positive in January, more than were recorded in Israel in any month of the first and second wave.

Vaccination campaign

The new Prime Minister Mario Draghi has announced a change of pace in the vaccination campaign, with the intention of giving priority also to teachers and school staff. To date the first 249,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine (intended for people between 16 and 55 who do not present specific risks, including teachers and school staff who are in this condition) are delivered, but the vaccinations have not yet started. Then there is the question of children: can they be vaccinated safely? There is still no answer, but pharmaceutical companies are moving in this direction. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be tested on children aged 2 months to 18 years (the protocol provides for two doses each) in various international centers, including the Buzzi Hospital in Milan. I hope we can leave in a couple of months, says Gianvincenzo Zuccotti, head of pediatrics. Buzzi said he was willing to test the vaccine even on children aged one year and over. Also Pfizer and Moderna they have started testing their vaccines on children aged 12 and older and hope to have the results by the summer. The University of Oxford (which developed the vaccine together with AstraZeneca) announced its intention to recruit 300 volunteers between the ages of 6 and 17.

February 14, 2021 (change February 14, 2021 | 18:21)


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