ATHENS - Sotiris Tsiodars began Wednesday’s televised update on the coronavirus pandemic in Greece with a poignant reading of the first names of dozens of infected patients but also of doctors and nurses who care for them, after his visit to two Covid-19 reference hospitals, Attikon and Agias Varvaras.
The Health Ministry’s coronavirus spokesman and infectious diseases professor, Tsiodras wished these and all Covid-19 patients "wholeheartedly all the best," and praised anew the efforts of healthcare workers in the fight against Covid-19.
Dispelling the argument that health authorities have not recorded all deaths by the virus, he said that the National Public Health Organization collaborates with all health authorities nationwide, and said that "we are not afraid of the truth; had there been more fatalities, we would have recorded them."
To anyone still unconvinced that masks should only be worn by the infected, Tsiodras said facts about the disease are still developing and referred to "a pandemic of uncertainty" in terms of preventative measures. After quering the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, he reiterated its advice that masks should be worn only by people infected with the virus, those who care for them, or hospital staff. "If we all practiced social distancing correctly, we wouldn’t need masks," he pointed out.
Concerning patients who have recovered from Covid-19, Tsiodras said the disease does not leave damaged lungs, but warned that "those who become seriously ill and spent time in ICUs should be monitored for months, even for 1-2 years," after their recovery.
On conclusions drawn from this initial phase of the pandemic in Greece, the professor said that people who have developed a high antibody count will have "a type of antibody 'passport', so they will be able to work at the front lines.” The immunity from the virus may last up to 2 or 3 years.
"We do not know what will happen in autumn," was Tsiodras’ answer to a speculative question on a 'second wave' of the pandemic, and added that flu vaccinations in autumn is an advised strategy, as "you don't want to be seeing two aggressive viruses dispersing in the community at the same time."
Tsiodras also announced 81 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Greece in the last 24 hours and one new death.
He said that including the 20 confirmed infections onboard the Eleftherios Venizelos ship, anchored off the port of Piraeus, the Covid-19 infections total in Greece stands at 1,415.
Deaths total 50 since the start of the outbreak. Of those, 38 were men and 12 were women, over 90 pct had underlying health issues and their average age was 72 years of age.
Some 90 patients are being treated in Intensive Care Units, with 14 of them being women. The average age of ICU patients is 66 years, and more than half of these suffer from underlying health issues. A total of 6 people have so far been discharged from ICUs.