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Today’s 5th Item read as follows:
“The new coronavirus is losing its potency and has become much less lethal, a senior Italian doctor said on Sunday. “In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” said Alberto Zangrillo, the head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan in the northern region of Lombardy, which has borne the brunt of Italy’s coronavirus contagion. “The swabs that were performed over the last 10 days showed a viral load in quantitative terms that was absolutely infinitesimal compared to the ones carried out a month or two months ago,” he told RAI television.” (via Reuters)
What follows lends some skeptical context to the above. Thanks to subscriber Paul S for the heads up:
Italian government ministers and health experts on Monday warned there was no evidence to support a claim by a leading doctor that the new coronavirus "no longer exists" in the country. The government is urging caution as the country prepares this week to restart travel: the next big step in easing the national lockdown imposed three months ago.
From Wednesday, some foreign visitors will be able to enter again and people will be able to move between regions.
But the government has insisted this is one of the most dangerous phases, urging people to abide by social distancing rules and wear masks to prevent the virus from spreading again.
There was widespread concern that the unproven claims would undermine this effort and confuse the public.
"In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy," said Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, the capital of the northern Lombardy region, which has been the worst-hit by the pandemic.
"The swabs performed over the past 10 days have showed a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal in quantitative terms compared to those carried out a month or two months ago," he said in an interview on Rai television on Sunday.
"Someone has to take responsibility for terrorising the country", added Zangrillo, who has also been a personal doctor to former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for around 30 years.
His words prompted cries of disbelief from other experts, and a public warning from the government.
"Pending scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus has disappeared, I would invite those who say they are sure of it not to confuse Italians," health ministry undersecretary Sandra Zampa said in a statement.