Italian writer for a joke: “Waiting” to reappear in the relaxation of the measures

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Paolo Giordano, the first author to write a book about the mockery, speaks to ethnos.gr

The book by Italian Paolo Giordano “On Transmission” is the first book written about the parody of the coronation and was published simultaneously in 26 languages, including Greek by Patakis Publications. The award-winning author focuses on the number R0, the virus transmission index, and points out that, as is the case today, we cannot predict our future. In the interview he gave to ethnos.gr, he also talks about the immunity of the herd, which he characterizes as “a dangerous bet”.

But what was the reason he decided to write the book? “I wrote the book to deal with the confusion and I thought I could explain what I had learned so far. I think trying to explain something complex is a kind of solidarity at this time. I was taking notes while in the pandemic and this is something I think everyone should do. There are things that need to change in our society, the ways in which we approach things and I think we need to take notes and record things now because when emergencies occur we will make exactly the same mistakes we made before, with him. way”.

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Much of the book, but also of our sacrifices, as Giordano says, focuses on R0. “R0 is a number that measures and records the speed of transmission of the virus. If the R0 index is two, it means that one patient is transmitting the virus to two other people. So the higher the R0, the greater the potential for the virus to spread. For COVID-19 at the beginning of the epidemic when there is still no measure, it was at 2.5. Each person with the virus infected more than two people. What I wanted to explain through the number R0 is the mathematical meaning of our sacrifices. If we stay home, we avoid contact, we wash our hands often, what we do is lower the price of R0. And if we manage to get that number below one, the epidemic will start to weaken and go away. So what we need to do is lower the R0 and keep it below one for the time required. In Italy, of course, it is not the same everywhere. It depends on where you are. As I had heard in some parts of Lombardy, the R0 had even reached four in early March. Now that the lockdown has been in place for a month now, it’s probably under one in all parts of the country. But we need to keep it in this place for a long time so that the virus that continues to be in various places disappears and then we can safely go out on the streets again. ”

Paolo Giordano claims that “almost everyone was late in taking action. Most likely in Italy we were a week late, maybe 10 days for the tough measures. But it was very difficult to understand the seriousness of the situation at that time. It is a problem of perception, a psychological problem associated with this pandemic. We are aware of the risk and dangers that exist when the problem is very close to us, when it has reached us. Because the danger was quite clear when the epidemic was in China in January. But then we all felt it was something that was not going to happen to us. Then he first hit Italy with great force. Too many reasons, structural reasons we need to investigate but there was a time lag before the tough measures were taken. And I think that is mainly due to our psychological difficulty in perceiving the new dangers that threaten us, but also because of our attitude of having the economy in the foreground. This is what activists in most countries are saying, that you can’t shut down the economy. It’s something that seems unthinkable until you realize that there is no other choice. So, yes, we were all late, but we will be able to understand exactly what happened. ”

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Bookstore in Rome (Associated Press)

Mr Giordano appears cautious about the herd’s immunity, the path Britain has chosen to take and then change its strategy, which Sweden continues to pursue: “There are still many questions about it. I am not an epidemiologist, a virologist and I can only talk about what I have learned during these weeks. We are still not sure about the location of the herd’s immunity, what percentage of society, how long its creation will last for the world. So there are many questions. That’s why I thought from the beginning that the herd immunity approach is dangerous, it was a bet that could turn out to be a very bad bet. I think it was impossible to do it here in Italy, because we got to numbers that were very scary and we had a lot of dead. The lockdown was inevitable. Maybe the other countries had a different approach from the beginning and then it could prove effective. But I’m not the one who can say that. ”

Regarding what he thinks are the next steps, Mr. Giordano says: “It’s very difficult for us, as we’re used to planning everything we do, we plan our future, even our distant future, and we follow those plans. We are not in a position to do that now. We cannot plan the things we will do from now on and for a year to come. We do not know what will happen, even if the lockdown is relaxed, in Italy and in other countries. The trend in these pandemics is to start again, as soon as you relax the measures. I think there will be a phase of trial and error. Maybe sometimes we need to go back a little bit, maybe we need to re-apply lockdown – I hope it’s not as strong as it is now – we need to look at the economic and psychological consequences for citizens at the same time. It is becoming more and more complex, as the factors that you have to take into account increase every time. So I don’t think we can make plans for the very future. We have to go step by step and each one we do to look at the best possible security conditions for it. ”

Paolo Giordano was born in Turin in 1982, studied Physics and became a Doctor of Physical Physics, but was internationally established with his novel The Loneliness of the First Numbers, which sold one million copies, and was translated into 30 languages. Strega and Campiello awards.

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