COVID-19 Seen Infecting 50,000 Children 12-18 in Greece in Autumn

Αssociated Press

Children enter a classroom with a view of signs with health guidance on the wall in the foreground, in Athens, Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – Greece's student sector, the 12- to 18-year-olds are so susceptible to the growing COVID-19 pandemic and the Delta Variant that as many as 50,000 of them could be infected in the autumn, a health expert has warned.

That assessment came from Nikos Tzanakis, an expert in respiratory disease and vice president of the Hellenic Thoracic Society, on Mega TV as schools reopened but students aren't required to be inoculated.

He said there are 730,000-750,000 children in that segment and that up to 200,000 could be exposed to the Coronavirus in school settings as the New Democracy government said if half a school is infected it would be closed.

“According to conservative estimates, 25 percent, that is approximately 30,000 to 50,000 children, will be infected,” Tzanakis said, adding that data means between 300-500 would be hospitalized, as he urged parents to get them vaccinated.

“I don’t want to scare anybody here, but parents should be aware of these figures,” Tzanakis said, but there's no indication that Greece's anti-vaxxers are paying any attention to pleadings, advisories or warnings.

“They should know that chances of serious complications from vaccination are one in 500,000,” he said without indicating how many, or any, deaths could occur in that age group as skeptics believe the vaccines aren't safe or effective or are part of an international conspiracy to alter their DNA and control their minds.

Some 1.3 million pupils and 140,000 teachers went back to the classes after the previous year saw frequent online teaching as schools were kept shut during lockdowns that disrupted teaching.

Despite students, staff and teachers being in daily constant contact – although health restrictions such as staying apart and wearing masks are allegedly required – they are not being forced to be inoculated yet.