ATHENS – Just when it seemed that the COVID-19 pandemic was on the wane in Greece – cases, hospitalizations and deaths were receding – there are signs it could rebound and hit 30,000 cases daily by the end of March.
That would be nearly three times more than had been seen at points in the month, driven up by the growing Omicron 2 sub-variant that is making the Coronavirus keep its grip on the country.
Nikos Tzanakis, a pulmonology professor and Vice-President of the Greek Pulmonary Society, told SKAI radio that the number of deaths and intubations due to Covid-related causes will remain mostly stabilized.
But cases could shoot up again as rabid anti-vaxxers who refused to be inoculated continue spreading the virus although he said vaccinations that have protected some 70 percent of the population slowed the pandemic.
He said, however that those who were vaccinated only within the past three to four months could still be infected but not have symptoms nearly as seriously as the unvaccinated, particularly the old or those with multiple underlying conditions.
“Most of them however will be asymptomatic or experience a soar throat,” he said of the fully vaccinated who will test positive, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis long ago backing away from a pledge to consider mandatory shots.
Asked about the prospect of a fourth booster shot, Tzanakis said that it should be considered for people suffering from chronic diseases such as respiratory system diseases, chronic kidney disease and heart failure or those over 75.
But now Omicron-2 is colliding with an unexpected reappearance of flu that had pulled back to almost no cases when COVID-19 showed up in the spring of 2020, and the easing of health measures likely will see more Coronavirus cases.
Patients infected with the Omicron 2 experience more severe symptoms, and especially a high fever tending to last only 24 hours, the variant accounting for 25 percent of cases now compared to only 6.4 percent the end of February.
The average number of overall daily coronavirus cases has increased by 32 percent in a week, said Kathimerini, with health experts not identified telling the paper that, “The only thing for sure is that we have not yet gotten rid of COVID-19,” which has begun its third year in the world.