Lettera aperta alla comunità scientifica. Take care per il coronavirus
VERSIONE IN ITALIANO
VERSIONE IN INGLESE – Open letter to the scientific community
As you surely know, Italy is suffering a dramatic spreading of the coronavirus. In just 3 weeks from the beginning of the outbreak, the virus has reached more than 10.000 infected people. From our data, about 10% of patients require ICU (Intensive Care Unit) or sub ICU assistance and about 5% of patients die.
We are now in the tragic situation that the most efficient health system of the richest area of the country (Lombardy) is almost at its full capacity and will soon be difficult to assist more people with Covid-19. This is the reason why an almost complete lockdown of the country has been ordered: to slow down and hopefully stop the contagion as soon as possible.
A few days ago (March 2rd) Enrico Bucci, Enzo Marinari and Giorgio Parisi wrote an article to analyze how the contagion was growing. They found that the virus was spreading at maximum speed, doubling the number of infected people in just 2,4 days.
A few days later, Federico Ricci-Tersenghi, Andrea D’Aquino, and others explained that, as it emerges without a doubt from the data, all the European countries are in fact experiencing the same rate of contagion speed and that they are just a few days behind on where it is Italy now.
They also saw that the beginning of the outbreak had the exact same number of infections in China, Italy, and other countries. The difference is that China strongly and quickly locked down Wuhan and all of the Huabei region 8 days before Italy. Just 8 days of delay for the Italy lockdown will result in an enormous increase in the number
of total deaths in Italy with respect to China.
This exact same initial dynamic in the number of new cases can also be observed in every country outbreak. It’s hard for non-specialists to intuitively grasp the way an exponential rate increase can get out of control.
So they usually don’t think about the tragic consequences that an exponential growth can
have in a contagion like this one. As a scientist, you surely do understand it. You do also understand that, as long as the rate of increase is exponential, no linear solution to contrast it will work (I.e. increasing x times the
number of ICU machines, etc.).
Similarly, just imposing a limitation on people from staying together in large groups is not a
sufficient solution. This is an appeal to you, as a member of the scientific community, to urge your
government to act now for actively stopping the virus!
In most EU countries you have enough time to make a lockdown similar to China or South Korea to quickly slow down and stop the contagion with much less effort and cost of what is now needed in Italy. If Italy had strongly acted just 10 days ago, and that is more or less where you are now, there would have been much fewer deaths and economic tumble.
South Korea and China should be taken as the example to follow to stop this epidemic. There is no other way.
So please, make your best effort to urge your government to act now! Time is our common enemy as the virus is very fast and really lethal. Every minute is exceptionally important as it means saving lives. Don’t waste it!
Disclaimer: the views expressed in this letter are our own and do not necessarily represent those of our respective institutions. We are signing in a personal, and not official, capacity.
Matteo Fago (Publisher, Rome, Italy)
Enzo Marinari (Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Italy)
Richard D. Gill (Emeritus, Leiden University, The netherlands)
Simone Ammazzalorso (Università degli studi di Torino, Italy)
Giuliano Antoniciello (Università di Padova)
Vincenzo Antonuccio (INAF, Italy)
Roberto Aguilar (ETH Zurich, Costa Rica)
Stefano D’Aronco (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Lucia Ballerini (University of Edinburgh, UK)
Dario Bercioux (DIPC, Spain)
Sandro Calmanti (ENEA, Italy)
Giulia Cereda (Leiden University, The Netherlands)
Benedetta Cerruti (Swiss Re, Italy)
Salvatore Cielo (Leibniz Supercomputing Centre, Garching b. Munich, Germany)
Cecilia Clementi (FU Berlin, Germany)
Antonella Cocozziello (Italy)
Andrea Cossettini (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Filippo Costa (Università di Pisa, Italy)
Martina Danese (Empa, Switzerland)
Leonard Deuschle (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Qian Ding (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Sara Fanti UWE University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
Sara Fiore (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Vincenzo Fiorentini (Università di Cagliari, Italy)
Jonathan Fiorentino (Helmholtz Zentrum München, Germany)
Marco Frigerio (University of Milan)
Guido Gandus(Empa, Switzerland)
Michele Ginolfi (University of Geneva)
Giulia Gosta (Università degli studi di Milano, Italy)
Alessandro Guareschi (University of Dundee, UK)
Maria Luisa Guerriero (AstraZeneca R&D, Cambridge, UK)
Brynmor Haskell (Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences,
Emilia La Nave (CNR, Italy)
Shaohua Li (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Marco Tullio Liuzza (University of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy)
Ilaria Maccari (KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
Onofrio M. Maragò (CNR, Messina, Italy)
Maria Concetta Mastropieri (Liceo Scientifico Galileo Galilei- Perugia- Italy)
Javier Roca Maza (Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy)
Michele Michelotto (INFN, Padova, Italy)
Valeria Montis (MIUR, Italia)
Alessia Nota (University of Bonn, Germany)
Elisabetta Ocello (University of Udine, Italy)
Carlotta Olivero (Cardiff University, UK)
Floria Ottonello Briano (PhD, Italy)
Davide Pagani (DESY, Hamburg, Germany)
Matteo Paganoni (Shell International (former Oxford University))
Giulia Panegrossi (CNR, Italy)
Daniele Passerone (Empa, Switzerland)
Chiara Pavan (University of Melbourne – Frey Institute, Australia)
Laura Pentericci (INAF, Italy)
Claudio Perini (ANSYS, Italy)
Marcello Petita (ENEA, EURAC)
Paola Pietrandrea (Université de Lille, France)
Leonardo Platania (Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF) , Spain)
Giulia Da Poian (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Elena Pulvirenti (University of Bonn, Germany)
Andrea Rapisarda (Università di Catania)
Tommaso Rollo (ThunderNIL, Italy)
A. Marco Saitta (Sorbonne Université, Paris, France)
Renata Sarno (PhD)
Serena Savoca (University of Messina, Italy)
Gaetano Scebba (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Nathan Shammah (RIKEN, Wako, Japan)
Riccardo Spezia (Sorbonne Université, Paris, France)
Lorenzo Stievano (Université de Montpellier, France)
Simone Sturniolo (STFC, United Kingdom)
Alessandra Tamaro (Amsterdam UIversity medical center, The Netherlands)
Luca Tortorelli (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
David Vagni (Itl. Nt. Res. Council, CNR Messina)
Angelo Valli (TU Vienna, Austria)
Giulia Venditti (Department of physics, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)
Sharon Watson (PharMD)
Xin Wen (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Jia Zhang (ETH Zurich, Switzerland