In the Italian region of Lombardy, hit particularly hard by the pandemic, Leitizia Moratti serves as chief of welfare policy. She's also fast becoming queen of the COVID gaffe.

Moratti, 71, who had a successful business career and married an oil baron before entering politics, made headlines last month when she said that Italy's criteria for vaccine distribution should include which regions have higher GDPs. In other words, rich regions (like Lombardy, where Milan is capital) should get vaccines sooner because they would be better able to help the economy overall. Huh? The statement made in a private meeting of her party allies was vilified in her own region and around Italy, with one prominent economist saying the idea was a form of eugenics. Moratti, a former mayor of Milan, says her comment was taken out of context — though Il Fatto daily has a tape recording.

Moratti serves as chief of welfare policy — Photo: Bruno Cordioli

Now, according to La Repubblica, Moratti has suggested another unlikely approach to vaccine distribution. As the Lombardy region was launching its campaign to get vaccination appointments for the 80 and older population, Moratti responded to concerns about the efficiency of the system. "People need to stay calm," she said. "All those over 80 will be vaccinated. There's no need to rush." Huh? again...

Twitter, well, didn't have to wait. One resident suggested that the head of welfare should say the exact opposite: "we need to rush." Another tweet read: "This morning I booked the vaccine for my 86 year-old mother-in-law, Now Moratti says there's no rush! What have I done wrong?" Yes, calling for calm can set off a riot — and rushing to judgment is sometimes the most rational response.


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