September 2020 Editorial – EPN Consulting Newsletter


During these days we have been reading about increasing rate of new Covid-19 cases, which some politicians name it as 2nd wave and surely generate uncertainties among people. That’s understandable. What is not clear is the provision of data concerning: the number of infected people that seems to be proportional to the number of PCR tests carried out, the number of days of an effective quarantine and the different rules applied in different EU countries.

Let’s discuss them more in detail.

Of course more PCR tests carried out are likely to discover more cases of infection, but this doesn’t automatically mean the pandemia is going worse. As someone stated, there is a difference if I am going in a wood to look for mushrooms alone or if I go with friends: the number of mushrooms available in that wood is the same, but it is quite likely that the group of us will find more mushrooms than what I would have found alone.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful about ensuring social distance or adopting all hygienic measures in place, but data and statistics are something to take seriously and objectively into account.

The 14-day quarantine was initially considered acceptable from many scientists. After six months we haven’t been explained scientifically yet whether reducing this number to 10 or even 7 days would be useful to protect the others from ourselves and vice versa. If this was said to avoid damaging the economy (for instance, a 2-week quarantine kill tourism as the UK experienced in the past Summer), it would have the only effect of extending the period when the real costs (in human lives and economic impact) will have to be paid.
On top of it, the tracking apps developed in several EU countries proved to be unsuccessful due to either the low number of downloads and installations performed or the questionable way of managing personal data (i.e. privacy).

Finally, rules applied in several EU countries. Why in some countries should we wear face masks also outdoor and in parks while in some others either the parks are closed or it is allowed to stay in the open air without mask (while keeping at least 1.5 metres apart of course)?
Why is the safe social distance decided in 1 metre, 1.5 metres or even 2 meters depending on which country we are in?
When flying to several EU countries (or country regions) why do we have to fill in different documents to enter the specific country and in different ways (paper forms, QR codes, electronic forms, etc.)? See the Ryanair website for the list of travel documentation, for example.

I guess the human body works pretty the same in any country, so why so many different rules? This generates a lot of confusion among EU citizens and travellers and also diminishes trust in governments and local authorities that should manage this situation in a clearer and more consistent way.

Some days ago it was proposed the European Union issued one set of regulations for the entire EU in order to facilitate the comprehension and adoption of rules. Nothing has happened yet.

Stefano Mainero
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO