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Delta Variant Major COVID-19 Strain in Greece, Unvaccinated Targets

ATHENS – With the unvaccinated the primary target, the Delta Variant strain of COVID-19 from India now makes up 79.1 percent of cases in Greece and keeps rising, the New Democracy government not moving to make shots mandatory.

Charalambos Gogos, an infectious disease specialist and member of the government's advisory team of doctors and scientists regularly reviewing epidemiological data said Delta will soon make up 90 percent of Coronavirus cases.

He told journalists that is faster than expected and noted that the number of hospitalizations doubled with 20 days and as cases have exploded 1000 percent since the early summer when the pandemic was slowing.

It soared again because of Delta and so many people refusing to be vaccinated and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis so far has made inoculations a requirement only for health care workers.

Other public workers have been exempted, including teachers and even tourism workers although cases jumped on islands where tourists and other visitors going had to be vaccinated or show they were free of being infected.

The National Organization for Public Health (EODY) said there were 3,605 infections on Aug. 12 while the number of people in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) hit 240.

To be effective in beating back the pandemic, some 70 percent of Greece's population of 10.7 million people must be fully vaccinated, with two shots required except for the single-shot Johnson & Johnson version from the United States.

The Eleftheria (Freedom) vaccination campaign has stalled,  however, at the 50 percent mark, and Mitsotakis said he won't even consider the idea of mandatory shots for all until autumn despite the jumping numbers.

Greece, like many countries, has a hard core element of anti-vaxxers who don't think the vaccines are safe or effective despite scientific evidence they are, or who think the shots are an international conspiracy to alter their DNA and control their minds, to what end they haven't said. 

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