Medics’ appeal comes amid surge of new covid-19 infections in Italy.
More than 70,000 people are expected at a sold-out concert by Rome band Måneskin at the Circus Maximus on Saturday 9 July, billed as one of the biggest events this summer in the Italian capital.
However doctors have warned against the open-air concert which comes amid a surge of new covid infections in the Lazio region around Rome, fuelled by the Omicron-5 sub-variant of the virus, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
In recent days Italy recorded 1 million active covid cases, while the Lazio region on Tuesday registered more than 176,000 people as “currently positive”, even though many experts believe the real number could be at least double that due to people testing at home.
Italy’s health ministry registered 132,274 new covid-19 cases on Tuesday, surprassing 100,000 for the first time since 8 February, reports Reuters.
“The big events have played a role in the boom in infections over the last two weeks in Lazio”, Marco Trifogli, regional secretary of the independent medical union SNAMI, told La Repubblica.
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Doctors believe that Saturday night’s concert at the Circus Maximus should be postponed until after the peak of the current covid surge, reportedly predicted between 10 and 15 July.
“We are not making rhetorical and hypocritical speeches invoking the use of a mask at the concert” – Trifogli told La Repubblica – “Whoever thinks that 70,000 people, in 40 degrees, will keep their masks on in a concert while they sing and dance, is lying and they know it.”
Trifoglio said the same warning applies to the ongoing beach tour concerts by Italian singer Jovanotti which also risk acting as “mega-cluster” events.
This point was reinforced by Alberto Chiriatti, deputy regional secretary of Italy’s federation of general practioners (FIMMG): “The problem is obviously not Måneskin but any large gathering during the current surge of the virus. There is no football right now but if there were a derby we would say the same thing.”
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Marcello Pili, a well-known family doctor from Ostia, is of the same view, describing big summer events – including the concert tour by Vasco Rossi – as “health bombs”.
“I find the Måneskin concert, at this moment, madness” – Pili told La Repubblica – “We risk 20,000 positive cases in one blow alone.”
Pili made a direct appeal to Måneskin frontman Damiano David to postpone the highly-anticipated event in Circo Massimo, asking: “Do you think this concert is really essential, now?”
Predictably, the medics’ appeal has gone done like a lead balloon among Måneskin fans, and has also faced criticism on social media from the public in the wake of the recent lifting of most of Italy’s covid restrictions after more than two years.