ATHENS – Hopes that the start of 2022 would see the COVID-19 pandemic wane as it approached a third year in March have been dashed by the appearance of the Omicron Variant in Greece, and sub-strains.
Combined with the lingering Delta Variant that is more deadly and seen fatalities rise, the number of hospital admissions, cases, and patients on ventilators in public hospital Intensive Care Units (ICUs) still worrisome.
At the same time, two cases of a Omicron subvariant were detected in travelers arriving at Athens International Aiport, said Kathimerini, although it wasn’t reported from where they had departed.
They were said to be quarantined after being found infected with the BA.2 Omicron subvariant, one of three new strains of the highly-transmissible if less deadly offshots of the Coronavirus.
Three subvariants of Omicron have been identified by scientists, BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3, with the first being the dominant type in most Omicron-cases around the world. The subvariant BA.2 has already been identified in several countries and carries additional mutations to those possessed by Omicron.
It is not yet clear whether BA.2 is more dangerous than BA.1, the report said.
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology of Athens University Gikas Magiorkinis, said the subvariant has been designated as a stealth version because it has a mutation that makes it undetectable by the standardized method used to identify Omicron in molecular tests.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 1,762,870 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 22,476 fatalities. Of those fatalities, 95 percent had an underlying condition and/or were aged 70 or over.
But almost 20 percent of patients in ICUs on ventilators are vaccinated, with anti-vaxxers not required to be vaccinated still spreading the virus and not being reined in apart from some health restrictions on public gatherings.