The new Covid divide: Risk-maker vs. Risk-averse

ROME – Entire families are vaccinated, even loved ones, and all adhere to mask requirements and respect Italy’s strict coronavirus restrictions. They are also omnipresent about how they are living their lives.

Mariagiovanna Togna is ready to accompany her children to outdoor fun dates after school. But her husband, more nervous in nature, still wears rubber gloves, wipes groceries and turns away from guests. One of her sisters in Rome is more relaxed and goes to yoga class and goes to work, and her 15-year-old daughter threw a birthday party in the house. Her brother, in the northern region of Trento, who eventually agreed to be vaccinated, to continue hanging out in bars, had recently been on vacation along the Amalfi Coast, she said. But when the Christmas break returned, their parents, in their 70s, asked him to stay in a bed and breakfast.

Everyone coming home to Benevento had to take a quick test, including another sister, who was dependent on her mother to babysit. Although the government has rejected efforts in the Campania Region, where she lives, to delay in-person attendance, she still wants to keep her children out of kindergarten.

“We’ve all been vaccinated, many have had a third dose, we all have a civic sense of being careful for ourselves and for others,” she said. “But we have different lifestyles.”

When the Omicron variant of the coronavirus comes into contact with or swirls around in so many individuals, immunized and protected families are largely stressed by varying degrees of comfort. The same goes for the world, especially in places where the majority of the population has been vaccinated, like Italy, which currently has the highest vaccination rate in the world.

Initially attacked by virusToday’s Italy promises a not-so-distant future where social segregation is no more between vaccinated and unvaccinated people, or socially responsible and ridiculed, but between risk takers and risk averse.

For many people with booster shots, life has become a constant negotiation between those who want to continue eating in restaurants, those who are still reluctant to accept deliveries, and those who just want to catch the virus. and subject to mandatory quarantine.

For many vaccinated families, the recent holiday season and New Year’s celebrations have influenced those changes going home, as teenagers casually attend parties for swab tests and reunions. with uncles petrified from the virus or grandparents unsure of how to protect their booster shots regardless of them. In Italy, where generations of the family regularly meet and often live together, navigating the changing Omicron decorum is a regular exercise.

Giuseppe Cavallone, 73, who walks in the park Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome with his wife, said: “In my world, there is no one who does not have money.” But that doesn’t mean they live carefree. They have given up going to the movies, in part because they feel uncomfortable wearing masks for three hours straight, and have given up their annual travel to Paris and London. But their son, also fully vaccinated, was less cautious, flying to Patagonia for a vacation.

“Young people feel much more free,” says Cavallone’s wife, Maria Teresa Pucciano, 74. She added that they recently went to a wedding, but one of their friends had been out in the cold the whole time.

An increasing number of people receiving a third dose of the vaccine, encouraged by the apparent mild symptoms of Omicron to the vaccinated person, have entered the outbreak phase of the pandemic. Some try to fit their results into social and school calendars, or get infected with friends’ calendars. Instead, others are still dealing with a seemingly ubiquitous virus and forcing themselves to adjust their comfort levels and do more, to be more social, even to use meals in an actual restaurant.

On a recent Sunday at Il Cortile restaurant in Rome, where the front door carried a big reminder that all diners need to present health pass and proof of vaccinations, 65-year-old Isabella Carletti got up from lunch with her husband and walked outside.

“I feel uncomfortable being in there, I want to breathe air,” she said. “We usually make reservations outside, but we couldn’t find a table.”

She lights a cigarette and suggests that the smoke is “less dangerous” than the air inside. But then she came back.

In Italy, more than 80 percent of the population, including children, have received two doses of this vaccine. That number is expected to grow as 90% of the population, including many children who were only recently eligible for immunization, have received a dose.

The Italian government has been gradually tightening the screws on the unvaccinated, and on Tuesday new restrictions will go into effect, requiring vaccinations for people 50 years of age and older.

“Most of the problems we are facing today depend on the fact that there are people who have not been vaccinated,” Prime Minister Mario Draghi said. He added that “those who are not vaccinated have a much higher risk of developing the disease and severe forms of the disease” and has put pressure on hospitals.

To force vaccinations, the health care system passes the names of unvaccinated people over 50 to tax authorities so they can be fined. But the real deterrent remains isolation from public life, with everything from entering cafes to riding public buses or commuting to work banned for the unvaccinated.

Since the government announced its plan, about 600,000 people a day, about 1% of the population, have received a dose of the vaccine, including 45% of Italians who are currently getting a third dose. But among them are also about 60,000 to 90,000 people who are getting the first dose. Many are probably children, but the government also believes the new regulations will push more people over 50, who are more vulnerable, to get vaccinated. An estimated 10% of Italians are still unvaccinated, many in their 40s and 50s.

Advocates for a faster vaccination campaign want the government to mandate vaccines to people aged 40 and over, as about 15 percent of 40-year-olds are still unvaccinated. But today’s fragile political moment – with a The presidential election that destabilizes the president will take place in the next few days – paused that. In any case, the government is pleased with the progress.

Maria Claudia Di Paolo, 71, and her husband, Natale Santucci, also 71, say they are also encouraged by the success of the vaccination campaign in Italy and are worried that vaccine skeptics are being noticed. too much. The couple, who contracted Covid last year after having dinner with friends, recently decided to invite their first unrelated guest over for a meal.

Then a visitor, a doctor like Mr. Santucci, called to say that one of his patients had tested positive, but that he himself had tested negative and could still come.

“We said, ‘It’s better to wait,’” said Mr. Santucci, who added that the couple had moved their family weekend lunch to an outside table at a local restaurant. But they spent Christmas together at home with their children and grandchildren, spaced apart at a large table, avoiding hugs and kisses and feeling everyone’s comfort levels. “There is a big difference within vaccinated families,” he said.

Ms. Togna said she felt isolated and at last. She said, seeing so many people around her getting infected, quarantined and then moving on, she encouraged her to try and move very lightly away from the extremely cautious end of the spectrum. spectrum. But it’s hard.

“On one hand, I think I have to change my behavior and bring my family along, but it will be very difficult,” she said. “Even if it’s endemic, there’s always a risk.”

Gaia Pianigiani contribution report. The new Covid divide: Risk-maker vs. Risk-averse

Fry Electronics Team

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