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Second COVID-19 Wave Hit Greece in August, Brought Summer Surge

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Markos Houzouris, file)

ATHENS – Any notion that hot weather would slow the onslaught of COVID-19 didn't bear out when a second wave overtook Greece in August, during brutal heat and as tourists allowed in brought some cases with them.

The uptick though was driven mostly by people refusing to wear masks or keep a safe social distance and with wild parties, mostly by the young, on islands and in city squares in the Greek capital at night.

The resurgence started in the first 10 day of August, Gkikas Magiorkinis, an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at Athens University and member of the New Democracy government's scientific team said in a TV briefing.

He said that new confirmed cases ranged between 200 and 400 on most days of August and showed a tendency to keep rising but gradually. 

“We have not yet seen an upward trend that will worry us, we have a slow growth rate at the moment,” he said, warning that there could be a greater increase in the winter with people spending more time indoors and COVID-19 colliding with the flu season.

There were another 399 cases on Oct. 6, the National Public Health Organization (EOPY) announced, 55 related to other confirmed cases and 33 identified at entry points to the country.

Since the pandemic broke out in end-February, Greece has confirmed 20,541 cases. Of these, 3,122 are linked to travel abroad and 8,385 to earlier confirmed cases.

There are currently 98 patients in ICU for COVID-19, of which 87 are intubated, he said, raising concern but with the government having beefed up Intensive Care Units (ICU's) during the pandemic with the help of the Diaspora and some philanthropists, apart from Greek shipping oligarchs who haven't helped much.