ATHENS – It looks normal, feels normal and seems normal – but it’s not.
Greece has relaxed COVID-19 health measures so much it seems like there aren’t any, making an early bid to bring in tourists that is working, but also rewarding anti-vaxxers who could skirt alleged requirements to keep them out of restaurants, bars, taverns and other indoor public gathering spots.
That has health officials anxious that being lenient now will see anti-vaxxers spread the Coronavirus again and bring a big rebound in cases in the autumn, said Kathimerini in a report.
While the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and people on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) has come down, there are still dozens of deaths daily and the government’s advisory team of doctors and scientists is keeping a wary eye on epidemiological data.
This improvement is expected to continue through the spring and summer, Ghikas Magiorkinis, Assistant professor at the Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics of the University of Athens, who specializes in tracking retroviruses, told the paper.
“We expect the pandemic to subside in the summer, both because of the higher temperatures and the fact that a big segment of the population has either gotten sick or been vaccinated,” he said.
That’s because the vaccinations – some 72 percent of the country is fully inoculated – can last for at least four or five months without needing a boost and people who got vaccinated slowed the pandemic.
“The reference scenario is that we will have a new surge of Covid-19 starting in October; but we may also be surprised,” Magiorkinis said. Otherwise, that would coincide with the start of the flu season and the virus spreads more easily when the temperature falls below 18 degrees Celsius (64 Fahrenheit.)