The Minister of Education, Lucia Azzolina, has been repeating for days that school is a safe place and that the data confirm it. On Sunday evening, on TV, the minister defended the government’s work from criticism on the management of the reopening of schools during the coronavirus emergency.
According to Azzolina, the numbers show that if in Italy 3.5 percent of outbreaks are in schools, in France it is 32 percent: about ten times more.
As reported by the fact checking site “Pagella Politics” not so: lthe minister mixes data that cannot be compared with each other.
The 3.5% quoted by the minister is contained in the most updated weekly monitoring of the Ministry of Health, the “3.5 percent” of the new 1,286 coronavirus outbreaks recorded in Italy between 12 and 18 October it’s tied to the school environment “.
An outbreak is the identification of two or more positive cases linked to each other and 3.5% indicates the percentage of new outbreaks, not the percentage of currently active outbreaks.
And 32% of France? Public health, the government agency, indicates that from May to October, 814 outbreaks out of 4,365 they were related to schools and universities: a percentage equal to 18.7 per cent. If we also count the 376 outbreaks under investigation, the percentage rises to 20.3 per cent (1,190 out of 5,861 overall). A lower percentage than that indicated by Azzolina, but still higher than the Italian one.
The problem, however, as the specialized site points out, is that different data and percentages are being compared.
“Italy and France they use two different definitions of outbreak “, specify the site; “Then the Italian data are on new weekly outbreaks, while the French data on the total from May to today; finally – most important of all – the French statistics exclude those in the family context from the count of outbreaks, while the Italian Ministry of Health counts them ”.
It is true that between 12 and 18 October, 3.5 percent of new outbreaks in Italy were in schools, but this percentage rises to about 18 percent if the outbreaks in homes are removed, which account for about 82 percent of the total outbreaks.
Also in France, according to the most updated data, just over 18 percent of the outbreaks were attributable to schools and universities (which are not present in the Italian accounts).
Furthermore, on the weekly monitoring of the Ministry of Education it is specified that not all Italian principals and schools responded to the questionnaire, so much so that, as Orizzonte Scuola revealed, last Friday a ministerial note from the head of department Giovanna Boda was published, which reminded the principals to update the monitoring information every week by 8 pm every Monday.