Contributing to the Wellbeing of All

The wish of Dr. Sergio Venturi, Emilia-Romagna's COVID-19 Emergency Commissioner.
Alberto Borghi

In the days of last spring when, mostly constrained at home as a result of emergency measures, we were all feeling overwhelmed by COVID-19. The daily sessions with Dr. Sergio Venturi gave us hope, a real light at the end of the tunnel, eventually shown by numbers and good news. His grim but reassuring face, his familiar accent accompanied at times by dashes of irony, was a reprieve from the gloom of figures about hospitalizations and tragic mourning, never forgetting about the dramatic reality of grandparents, parents and children torn from their families. He has helped people understand the seriousness of the situation, and the importance of individual commitments towards the good of the community. Sergio Venturi shies away and prefers to bring to mind the image of the hummingbird putting out the fire by trying to release only the small drops of water that it manages to capture with every single flight. Each one of us has done something and can do something, contributing to the good of the whole community, not only by respecting the basic principles of hygiene and wearing a mask when necessary; but also by striving towards changing our own habits which can be harmful to the environment, and also by encouraging, through civic and even political choices, new approaches to the way in which the economy and the governing body develop, ensuring sustainability.


Sergio Venturi

This epidemic is certainly not unprecedented. In Venturi's opinion, it is the confirmation of man's inattention, when not deliberate disinterest, towards nature and the balancing acts that, if preserved, could certainly protect us from dangerous contamination between animals and human beings. We have not always been able to learn from the past, neglecting the seriousness of certain signs, with the risk of experiencing increasing perils.


Venturi recognizes that the handling of the crisis has painfully affected persons with disabilities, taking away those important sources of social support. The isolation imposed by the prevention measures means a higher price paid by persons with disabilities. Masks that undermine the rights of some by preventing lip reading is an example. Consistently with his approach as Emilia-Romagna's COVID-19 Emergency Commissioner, Dr. Venturi comes to terms with reality and points out that caution must remain our ally and not an unnecessary obstacle to the exercise of citizens' primary rights, the first being the right to receive the most appropriate healthcare. Consequently, screening, which has always been the first prevention tool, should be resumed as well as therapeutic treatments which we delayed because of the crisis causing sometimes more harm than the coronavirus itself, with particular reference to degenerative diseases (such as glaucoma) and cancer. It is important to maintain the essential collaboration between public and private health systems, each with its own prerogatives.


Sergio Venturi

Venturi also believes that Italians have responded well, after an initial period of objective hardship, also caused by the substantial unavailability of protection equipment. Many countries have in fact replicated the prevention measures against the spread of COVID-19 adopted by Italy, recognizing the soundness of the decisions taken without precedent on which to draw comparisons. Standards and practices, introduced in a situation of crisis, can now be considered as the new norm to address many issues. Smart working, for example, meets the needs of numerous workers as well as those of employers and the public administration, with obvious positive results on both transport and pollution. Venturi insists on the need to consider this pandemic not as a tragedy in itself, but as a means to improve the status quo, innovating for improvement. Because each of us can be a hummingbird not only able to put out a big fire, but also to bring water where drought seems to leave no room for hope.


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