ATHENS – Apparently believing themselves immune, Greece's young population, some of whom are engaging in wild parties on islands and villas and crowding bars in defiance of health protocols are helping spread COVID-19 again.
After a record 262 cases for a 24-hour period was reported on Aug. 12, health officials are again scrambling for a counter with more people wearing masks and keeping safe social distances of at least 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) apart in public places.
But there's still evidence many are not, especially the young packing bars and sidewalk cafes, drinking and carousing carefree, health authorities were struggling to convince them they could be infected too, as some have already been.
The government's top scientific advisor, University of Athens infectious diseases expert Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras, said 30% of the cases recorded in recent weeks have been asymptomatic while a very large percentage are under 40 years old.
Those elements can increase the risk as asymptomatic young people that don’t know they have been infected with the virus can transmit it to others who can be difficult or impossible to trace if it's passed on in rave parties and bars as while the young are less susceptible they can contract the virus and they can die too.
The National Organization of Public Health (EODY) said that 22 of the cases were imported infections detected at the country’s entry points from tourists allowed to be admitted in July.
The total number of infections reached 6,177 and two more deaths raised that toll to 216. EODY said 24 people have been intubated who have a median age of 63. Another 132 patients have left Intensive Care Units (ICU's.)
Heath authorities have conducted a total of 679,785 tests since the start of the pandemic but there's no widespread organized mobile phone app ability to track and trace contacts of those infected.
Lax behavior over the summer appears to have played a pivotal role in the deterioration of the epidemiological picture of the country, said Kathimerini in a report on what some analysts said is a second wave of COVID-19 settling over the country.
In Attica, around Athens and in Greece's second-largest city Thessaloniki, most of the cases were brought by travelers returning from holidays in the Cycladic islands and the region around Halkidiki.