Not transmitting the daily data of the Covid-19 epidemic, as someone has proposed in recent days, is not a good choice according to the mathematician Giovanni Sebastiani, of the Institute for the Applications of Calculation ‘M. Picone’, of the National Council of Researches (Cnr).
If the goal of limiting confusion between citizens “is absolutely acceptable, I believe that the form proposed for its realization is by no means the best one”. According to the expert, “providing clear and timely information is generally successful”, but to be so, the information on the data on the pandemic must be somewhat modified compared to the current one.
“For example, instead of providing the absolute number of positives every day, the percentage of positives to molecular tests should be transmitted, which is not so greatly affected by the number of tests performed and is more reliable. It would also be useful to provide information. on trends, on a weekly or monthly level “.
Sebastiani instead agrees “to provide more informative data, concerning not only the positivity, but also the presence or absence of symptoms, their severity, the reason for which the test is done. I take my cue from this – observes the expert – to urge the institutions to make data available to the scientific community in a more disaggregated form. For example, the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations are made public only at the regional level and there are not at the provincial level “.
The mathematician said he was “in any case certain that the Government does not act in an obstinate and contrary direction, misinterpreting the aforementioned proposal and no longer making available the data that can be downloaded every day from the Civil Protection, Higher Institute of Health or Agenas.
In order not to generate confusion, moreover, “I urge the representatives of the medical profession to stop making predictions that are not based on quantitative models and mathematical calculations, and which regularly turn out to be wrong, such as that the epidemic would have died out. after the summer of 2020 (it does not seem to me to have gone that way), or that at Christmas we would have had 30,000 cases a day (about 55,000) “. For the mathematician “it is acceptable that a prediction turns out to be wrong, but provided that it is obtained starting from the data and using a quantitative method”.
Furthermore, continues Sebastiani, “before making claims that reach tens of millions of people, it would be advisable to verify their veracity by making use of scientific advice. An example is the recent ‘demonstration’ of the thesis that schools are safe starting from the fact that they were closed when there was the recent surge in the incidence of positives at the end of 2021 “.
Sebastiani observes that “it is known, in fact, that in physics the hypothesis of the so-called ‘action at a distance’ fell apart after Einstein’s special theory of relativity and the effects of a phenomenon are detectable only after a certain time by the causes that caused them. products”.
In the case of Covid, “if we currently have changes in the incidence values of positives, they are relative to changes in the diffusion of about two weeks earlier. It is analogous to when we observe sunlight which is relative to its state of about eight minutes. and a half before “