Crisanti interpreted the latest available data on television program "L'aria che tira" on February 2, saying that the 437 deaths recorded the day before are mostly vaccinated people. He added that the number of unvaccinated who died in the intensive care unit is only 20 to 30 per day.
He also criticized the use of face masks, saying they don't do much outdoors, as well as the lack of transparency of data from clinical studies, adding that by now, scientists should know whether or not a third dose is protective.
Crisanti is also highly critical of the World Health Organization, which he said has its guidelines completely wrong. "Their bureaucrats were far away from the problem and far away from the science."
Despite the continuing cases in the country, Prime Minister Mario Draghi's administration met on February 2 to discuss how to ease guidelines and mandates. The government is set on streamlining its quarantine rules for schools and children, who face up to 10 days of isolation in case of positive test results. A cabinet meeting will also be held at a later date in Rome to cut the isolation time to five days for vaccinated children. (Related: 12 European countries roll back covid restrictions, Israel scraps "green pass.")
Crisanti made waves back in 2020 as a contrarian who broke initial WHO guidelines on testing for the new coronavirus. While the organization was advising governments to test only those who showed symptoms of the virus, Crisanti, a professor of microbiology at the University of Padua, was convinced that some people could catch the disease and spread it without even realizing they were sick.
To combat these transmissions, Crisanti called for broad testing even before the first surge in Italy in February 2020. His request was rejected by officials in the region, who relied on guidance from national and international health authorities.
"All infectious diseases have an asymptomatic transmission component. The longer the asymptomatic period, the more it has the ability to transmit," Crisanti said back then. "The WHO guidelines were wrong."
Meanwhile, the rest of Europe is looking to roll back pandemic restrictions as efforts to control the virus have been futile. Politicians across the region are now deeming public health measures unnecessary.
Despite the virus spreading rapidly across the continent, the alert levels have dropped. (Related: WHO: Omicron variant could spell end of pandemic in Europe.)
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said it's time to take a different viewpoint and start unwinding restrictions despite the high number of infections. She is hopeful that her country could be rid of restrictions in February.
Switzerland is also expected to announce plans of easing measures. The Swiss government may move to eliminate work-from-home obligations and reduce or scrap quarantine periods for people who come into contact with infected individuals. They are also eyeing the withdrawal of the COVID pass that proves vaccination or recovery to visit restaurants.
The Lithuanian government also plans on easing restrictions and will drop requirements such as presenting a vaccination certificate in public areas like restaurants and sporting events.
France also loosened up its mandates, ending mandatory work-from-home rules on Wednesday and eliminating requirements on outdoor face masks. Attendance limits in stadiums and theaters have also been lifted.
Germany, however, remains disconnected from the rest of Europe, showing little inclination to loosen its measures. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach also warned that the cases won't peak until mid-February.
Public health experts warn that the risk of COVID is not over and that more harmful variants can still emerge, leaving people exposed without proper precautions. The WHO also urged governments to ease gradually where possible, but continue to make use of social distancing and mask-wearing to prevent a possible resurgence.
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