ATHENS – Greece's stalled Eleftheria (Freedom) vaccination campaign and people defying health measures are keeping alive the COVID-19 pandemic that was being beaten back earlier in the summer, cases continuing to jump and worries of an autumn Fourth Wave.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he would wait to see about requiring shots for all, so far required only of health workers but not police, where the ranks of the anti-vaxxers are nearly half the officers.
Clerics and teachers could be next to face mandatory shots even as health care workers who've refused are being suspended without pay, adding to concerns about shortages at public hospitals as the pandemic re-surges on the back of the dominant Delta Variant from India.
The National Organization for Public Health (EODY) reported 2,170 cases on Sept. 9 and 43 deaths, as fatalities, hospitalizations and the numbers in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are also soaring.
While the number of cases has fallen, it's not enough for health authorities who said the figures show the resistance of the Coronavirus, especially with so many unvaccinated spreading it.
There were 384 people on ventilators, compared to 207 a month earlier and 141 in July, when the pandemic began bouncing back as tourists were admitted but tourism workers also not required to be inoculated yet.
The data also show a steady rise in hospital admissions – from 59 on July 9 to 197 a month after that and 221 now, while the average age of new COVID patients dropped from 43 in July to 40 in August and 39 after the virus had initially targeted the elderly and most vulnerable.