Galli: “Omicron variant explosive, it’s not time to remove quarantine”

But “for the vaccinated contacts of positive people, I think we can think about shorter quarantines”

“We are seeing an explosive spread of the Omicron variant” of Covid, “which also affects the vaccinated. I don’t think it’s time to remove the quarantine for those exposed to the virus “and those affected, while I believe that for the vaccinated contacts of positive people we can think about shorter quarantines“. The infectious disease specialist Massimo Galli calls for caution while the debate on the possible revision of the protocols governing anti-Covid isolation in Italy grows.

We are all quite appalled by the number of infections we are seeing everywhere“, explains the expert, former director of Infectious Diseases at the Sacco hospital in Milan, to Adnkronos Health. Because it is true that” we do a lot more tampons in this period in which many people go for them to feel safer during parties and seeing relatives, but people go to them also because they have had contacts “at risk, Galli thinks. We are doing a lot of tampons” and it is evident that in this way we intercept cases that at other times would have escaped, but beyond this – specifies the doctor – what we see is a flourishing of outbreaks everywhere, of family clusters that clearly suggest that we are in a situation that has become of great attention again“. A phase in which” you have to look reality in the face “, he warns.

We cannot think of South African solutions‘”, warns Galli after the country from which the Omicron alarm started has decided to stop quarantines and tampons for the contacts of Covid-positive people, except in particular contexts such as prisons or retirement homes.” In South Africa – the specialist points out – they do not even have 27% of fully vaccinated, provided that the “shield ‘conferred by a” complete vaccination with two doses can be talked about with this Omicron variant “so transmissible,” and therefore their attitude is not very different from what they adopted last year for example in Brazil “: the “go as it goes” strategy, even “paying very heavy prices”. Prices that however “in certain populations are paid by the most fragile, by people who live in the most difficult situations ever”. Prices that for Galli cannot be paid.

If in this phase of the Covid-19 pandemic “the problem is to try to keep open as much as possible, to do so the right way is certainly not to not quarantine the contacts” of positive people. “Then one might say that if they are all in quarantine then it is useless to keep it open. But if they are all in quarantine, perhaps it means that the measure to be taken was also another: for example a lockdown for the unvaccinated“, then raises Galli.

“It is no coincidence that the Germans who were worse off than us decided on this measure”, he observes. Should we also adopt it in Italy? “The super Green pass all in all goes in that direction – the doctor replies – because it inhibits unvaccinated people so much that it clearly goes that way. However, perhaps the concept should also be applied differently. Perhaps – specifies the expert – we need to think about further avoiding that unvaccinated people can become a source of infection for others “.

“This virus – continues Galli – has shown us, in the space of a calendar year, that it has come up with three variants, one more widespread than the other. This must also make us think about the future” and the first move to make is to ‘correct’ the current anti-Covid vaccines, adapting them to Omicron, which will soon dominate. Because if “viral-vector products have more or less left the scene as strategic vaccines, to remain so those with mRna need updating”.

On V-Day of December 27, 2020, the expert was among the white coats who immediately offered their arm to the injection against Covid-19. And today, on the “first anniversary of my vaccination”, his balance is as follows: “The comparison between the deaths we have now and those we have had in the same period last year – he underlines – says very clearly that the vaccine has done a great deal.. We hoped it could do even more “, but Sars-CoV-2 has shown that it can change quickly. A characteristic that for the infectious disease specialist must therefore” make one think “, but not only. It must also” avoid bombastic statements such as ‘with the third vaccination we will be immunized for life’, because clearly this is not the case with this virus, “he warns.

Perhaps we should also stop talking – adds Galli – about herd immunity, if not related to a single variant. And today we could achieve herd immunity against the Omicron variant only if we vaccinated a lot with a vaccine that is definitely active against Omicron. I have been talking about it for 6 months, perhaps, but I believe that at this point there is no longer any discussion and that even the pharmaceutical companies are resigning themselves to this need “.