“We cannot live in perennial quarantine,” says Tognotti


AGI – We cannot live “in a perennial quarantine, surrounded by a sanitary cord of masks, gloves, gels, distancing, guidelines and ordinances. The level of uncertainty as to when this will end is unprecedented: on closer inspection, in fact, it is the distinctive character of Covid 19, compared – for example – to Sars, Influenza H1N1 2009 and before that to the Spanish one, which disappeared just over a year after its debut “.

All epidemics “have a beginning and an end”

“It is not at all obvious, on the contrary, that there will be a second wave: in case, the lessons learned will be such as to substantially mitigate the extent”. Eugenia Tognotti, Professor of History of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Sassari, scholar of epidemics and author of an essay on the history of quarantine, from the plague to Influenza A, cited worldwide by countless newspapers starting from New York Times explains to AGI that the pandemic narrative is conditioned by a wrong belief: what “we will have to learn to live with the threat of the ‘second wave’ for who knows how long,” distorting the ways and times of our days and the rhythm of our lives “.

“We are faced – recalls Tognotti – with a unicum, which has no precedent in the past and which has marked a break in the history of epidemics: there has never been before such a long-lasting lockdown in time and space, which concerned a such a large percentage of the world population and such a large number of countries.

A lockdown that has certainly contributed to stem the effects of the pandemic but that has opened very difficult scenarios for the global economy. “In all this,” it is surprising – according to the scholar – that the experts and task forces in the field are organizing our near future starting from the idea that the epidemic will last for a long time so that – and it is truly unheard of – the Universities are equipping themselves to carry out distance learning for a large part of their students in the next academic year, effectively canceling the “ancient vocation of the University to be first of all a physical place organized to offer teachers, researchers and students a highly educational intellectual and scientific experience”.

“Will we have to resign ourselves to living a life in obstacles, in gloves and a mask?

A life where, even in free Covid geographical areas, you have to stand in line under the sun to buy a dress or a pair of shoes and enter after having disinfected your hands? Where to go to the beach with the metro? Where do you have to measure the temperature to enter a restaurant?

Until the idea, the craziest of all, to raise plexiglass dividers at school between one child and another: a solution without any justification and which presupposes that the pupils remain seated all the time, without ever approaching each other. to the others”.

“In the past, the health authorities of the various States have always taken rigorous quarantine measures against plague and cholera. But these measures did not last for years, they were linked to the duration of the epidemics – recalls Tognotti – Many rightly refer to the notorious Spanish of 1918, which made millions of victims all over the world: as I documented in one of my books (“The Spanish in Italy: history of the influence that made us fear the end of the world”, ed.), the peak was between us between September and October , but then the downward phase began and in November we returned to live an almost normal life, with the mayors asking to clean up schools and churches, restaurants and meeting places that reopened “.

“Although it is reckless to make comparisons between two periods and two situations so different, it should be remembered that the second wave, which arrived in the winter of 1918, was much less serious than the first, and partly linked to the movements of the soldiers of back from the front. We live in a globalized world but we have a new arsenal compared to a century ago: the famous second wave is not necessarily inevitable, to avoid which we should compress our lives “.

Moreover, “we are not talking about Ebola or the lung plague but about a very aggressive virus which has reaped its victims especially in certain age groups and among the most vulnerable for other pathologies. If we treasure the painful lessons received, we can keep the risks under control. By relying on local medicine. Timely isolating new cases and any new, small outbreaks. And observing everyone, no one excluded, rules of personal hygiene and common sense. Because in the name of the ‘security mantra’ we cannot give up on living our lives. ”

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