ATHENS – Ominous warnings that the Delta Variant-driven resurgence of COVID-19 would bring a daily tsunami of cases – over 10,000 – haven't been borne out in Greece, where it's expected the pandemic will crest by mid-August.
That could depend on the lagging vaccination drive that has seen only a little less than half the country fully inoculated, with a benchmark of 70 percent needed to slow the health crisis.
There was a 12 percent jump in cases from July 15-22 over the previous week when the daily infection rate doubled, with cases that had been as low as around 300 a day earlier in the summer jumping 10 times.
But as the rise is abating, health officials are reworking their estimates of the pandemic's path and monitoring changing epidemiological data that had seen cases jump hard on islands where tourism workers don't have to be vaccinated.
Forecast models cited by professor of Environmental Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, found the fourth wave should peak Aug. 10-12, with a weekly average of around 3,400 daily cases.
He told SKAI TV that after that whatever happens will depend on vaccinations although the New Democracy government is still trying persuasion that has failed to move hard-core resisters, and not making shots mandatory except for health care workers.
“If we raise the rates (of vaccination) then we expect a stabilization, initially, followed by a drop. If we stay at current rates then the estimate is that there will be a stabilization at high levels, of around 3,400 per day, until the end of August and then a further increase from the fall,” he said.
Sarigiannis also noted there's been a fall in cases in the biggest prefecture of Attica, which includes the Greek capital, only because many people have left the city and region for vacations, especially to their family villages.
The rise in cases in recent weeks coincided with an increase in testing due to more stringent inspections by health authorities and mandatory testing of passengers on ferry boats and airplanes, the report said.