Now that the emergency is over, and all attention is focused on «Phase 2», in Veneto, led by many scientists as a model in the management of the Coronavirus epidemic, a sensational clash explodes within the team led by the governor Luca Zaia (which thanks to the results achieved in the last three months rivals the premier Giuseppe Conte in the national consensus ranking). The reason for the dispute is the role of Andrea Crisanti, director of the Microbiology laboratory of the Hospital of Padua, the professor who landed from Imperial College London who became in the eyes of public opinion “the man of the tampons”, that is the mind of the massive plan to trace the contagions that, against the opinion of the WHO and the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, has allowed Veneto to contain the number of victims compared to Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont.
The attention towards Crisanti in the last few weeks has grown dramatically, also because of the professor’s original character and little accustomed to mediations, but now that the water has calmed between lanes and laboratories, Zaia has decided to intervene to restore what he says are “roles, merits and responsibilities”. He had already done so about ten days ago, explaining that he and only he “against the law” had decided to close Vo ‘as soon as the two infections were discovered, he had ordered to carry out mass swabs and to proceed with the fiduciary isolation of the suspicious cases. It was February 21st and only March 3rd, therefore twelve days later, “Professor Crisanti called me to collaborate, offering me a specific study on Vo”. ” A reconstruction confirmed yesterday by the mayor of Vo ‘, Giuliano Martini. On the occasion Zaia instead emphasized the role of Francesca Russo, director of the Department of prevention of the Region, unknown to the general public although, as the governor explained, “she is the mother of the plan that provides for tampons, insulation and in short all that today is cited as the winning model of Veneto ».
And it is no coincidence that after other misunderstandings (when Zaia claimed that the virus “was losing strength” and therefore “was probably artificial”, Crisanti on TV reproached him: “But what does” lose strength “mean? There is no evidence, no it makes sense … “) on Friday the governor wanted Russo at his side to deny what was announced by the professor at the University of Padua, namely that Veneto had crossed the” zero contagion “target. “This is not so – Russo said – I guess Crisanti spoke in good faith but we must pay attention to the messages we send to public opinion”. And again Zaia took the opportunity to praise her: «It is irreplaceable, the true mind of our plan, it has a strategic role. Crisanti? A column, very good, but directs one of our laboratories, there are thirteen others in the whole region ».
The anger of the professor
Crisanti, this time, did not take it well and replied dryly: “Merits are given to people who do not have any. If Dr. Russo had a tampon plan, she needs to explain why her office told me on February 8 that she would stop doing it to anyone returning from China. To say he had a plan is a nonsense. Do we want to make fun of everyone? I have no political interests, if you want to believe fairy tales you are free to do so. Until yesterday I thought that we collaborated and that the merits were recognized … They want to rewrite history ». Russo described Crisanti’s intervention as “incorrect”, instructed him to “never question my honesty” and countered, papers in hand, claiming that the professor never formally asked to perform tampons, ” he told the press “, and asked for a clarification” he said he was misrepresented and wanted to comply with national guidelines “. That at that time did not provide for “mass swabs”. A public duel between scientists that has greatly embarrassed Zaia, because it risks damaging the image of efficiency in the Veneto region and casting a heavy shadow on the merits so far attributed to the Region in the management of the emergency: «I don’t want controversy among top class players, I want act as peacemaker – cut the governor short now -. The merit is of the team and if we want to make claims, we think of the 1,840 dead and the desire passes immediately ».
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