Peak of Covid infections, reaching 60 thousand cases in 7 days

In Italy, according to the latest monitoring by the Ministry of Health – Istituto Superiore di Sanità, they have been registered 60,000 new cases of Covid. The transmissibility index (Rt) is increasing, but remains below the critical threshold. To be more precise, the total cases are 60,556, with an incidence rate of 103 per 100,000 inhabitants. This represents a 10% increase compared to data from seven days ago, when the proportion was 94 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The data

The Rt increased from 0.80 to 0.96, while remaining below the epidemic threshold, with the number of infected people increasingly increasing. The percentage of occupancy of beds in the medical area remained essentially stable at 11.8%, slightly higher than the 11.9% recorded seven days ago. However, the ICU bed occupancy rate rose to 3.1%, up from 2.7% the previous week.

The JN1 variant has seen significant growth, becoming the most widespread in the last week of observation, with a percentage of 49.1% compared to 20.9% in the previous week (4-10 December 2023). In Abruzzo, the highest incidence of cases was recorded, with 224 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, while Sicily has the lowest incidence with 3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Those aged over ninety are the group most affected by the virus, with an incidence rate of 237 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Furthermore, an age-related increase in hospitalization and mortality rates is observed, indicating a more severe impact of the virus in older age groups.

The hospitals

The situation in hospitals shows relative tranquility: the percentage of Covid hospitalizations in the medical area remains stable at 11.8%, with 7,360 patients, compared to 11.9% with 7,426 hospitalized seven days earlier. There is an increase in patients in intensive care, now at 3.1% with 276 hospitalized, compared to 2.7% with 240 hospitalized in the previous week. However, it is important to note that these are limited numbersas highlighted by the director of Prevention of the Ministry of Health, Francesco Vaia.

The director underlines that the data confirm a substantial stabilization of the epidemic curve. In particular, in regions that have intensified vaccination and protection campaigns for vulnerable groups, a downward trend is observed. The transmissibility index remains below the epidemic threshold, and the occupancy rates of beds in intensive care and in the medical area are low.

At a territorial level, a worrying data for Lombardy, with 10,858 new infections and 153 deaths.

Will pharmacies hold up? The words of the expert

“Although we do not reach the levels of previous years, we recorded a 20% increase in swabs,” declared Marco Cossolo, president of Federfarma, to Adnkronos Salute. “In particular, there has been significant demand for do-it-yourself testing. We are also working on flu prevention, as is usual at this stage of the season. In practice, many Italians have purchased products to combat respiratory viruses.”

Regarding vaccinations, Cossolo noted that “unfortunately they never took off, not even in the pharmacy. The numbers are far from those recorded in 2021-2022. Some regions have had better results than others, but the general data is not positive”. However, despite the challenges in vaccinations, Cossolo reassures that “there is no alarm and I think it will be a rather quiet Christmas” compared to the situation last year.