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Letter from Athens: How Greece Lost Control of Pandemic, Anti-Vaxxers

October 31, 2021

In the end it’s always about Da Benjamins – Benjamin Franklin is the face of the $100 bill – although in the Eurozone of countries using the euro it’s about Da Purple, which is the color of the 500-euro note that stopped being produced in 2019 in a failed bid to slow money laundering.

But whatever name or color, it’s always about the money, always has been, always will be, even when the world goes paperless and the only currency is numbers on a screen or phone.

Even when the number of COVID-19 cases in Greece hit a record daily high of 4,165 – it could be broken again by the time you read this, along with a certain increase in deaths that could close in on 16,000 soon – Greece’s New Democracy government has essentially admitted it now favors saving the economy over lives.

‘Krima’. That’s ‘pity’, and it really is because the pandemic has provided only a Hobson’s Choice to the government that has now shifted priorities toward accelerating what had been a gradual recovery that shut down almost to a halt when COVID hit, and is starting a slow-rolling surge again.

When the pandemic struck in March, 2020, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his advisory panel of doctors and scientists rightfully drew worldwide plaudits for a quick lockdown and keeping people at home.

But people were worn down by lockdowns that kept them locked out of work and stores that were shuttered and locked in their homes, and COVID fatigue has overtaken the populace.

With cases jumping, health experts predicting a fourth or fifth wave this autumn and winter, the government backed away from a vow to consider mandatory vaccinations and went investor shopping instead of officials perhaps visiting a COVID hospital, if only for a self-aggrandizing photo op.

There’s no answer to his dilemma because it’s a lose-lose proposition: impose tighter restrictions and another lockdown, and people suffer without money, depending on state subsidies drained by handouts, including to businesses shuttered half a year previously.

Don’t impose more restrictions and people become ill, are hospitalized, put on ventilators, and keep dying, so either way there’s just misery and don’t count on any kind of divine intervention.

Tighten restrictions and cripple the economy? Loosen restrictions, don’t require mandatory shots, and give the rabid and sometimes violent anti-vaxxers the field to keep spreading the coronavirus? Would they wear masks against smoke in a fire? The government has lessened an already ignored safe social distance from 2 meters (6.5 feet) to 1.5 meters (5 feet) even though that’s moot because no one was obeying that anyway, and masks will be the next to go.

All that has seen COVID hang on and rise again and the government’s top health advisor, Dr. Sotiris Tsiodras, believes people have stopped listening to him or epidemiological experts, so why would they listen to any government official with half-hearted pleas for them to be vaccinated and follow lenient rules?

Tsiodras said the vaccines have saved at least 8400 lives and that Greece started off well dealing with the deadly pandemic because “in the first waves, we listened to the experts, we were careful, we complied with the rules of protection, and we did not listen to unscientific and critical views.”

If the vaccines have saved lives then why area’t they mandatory for, at least, all public workers who must abide by the government’s rules? Only health care workers are required to be inoculated.

The Eleftheria (Freedom) vaccination scheme has stalled at 62 percent of protecting the country’s population of 10.7 million, short of the benchmark of 70 percent needed to slow the pandemic, and a persuasion campaign has failed.

All that has given the major opposition SYRIZA Way-Out-There-Past-Pluto Leftists ammunition to use against the government and their propaganda won’t be pushed back by the Harvard fight song..

SYRIZA spokesman Nassos Iliopoulos, his party’s Tom Tuttle from Tacoma, said that backing away from seriously trying to deal with the pandemic, essentially pretending it’s over, has led to more than 800 deaths in October and sent up the white flag and a sign of giving up.

“Unfortunately, the government has sent this signal many times,” he said, while hypocritically saying that New Democracy has failed to protect public health and save a sector decimated by SYRIZA during its previous 4 ½-year reign of ruin. He didn’t mention 102 people died in July 23, 2018 wildfires when SYRIZA was in power and failed to have a disaster response plan.

So while the government can’t win either way on this one, someone besides Tsiodras should at least show some moxie about wanting to push back the pandemic, if only to help the economy come back, which is the real priority.

It’s already game over, man because people will not listen to reason or fear or scare tactics or anything anymore because they’re already acting like the pandemic is over.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who has no shame or conscience, manipulated data during a debate in Parliament to try to prove Greece has the one of the worst COVID death rates in Europe, but he long ago stopped being relevant.

What’s the answer? There isn’t one, which no one wants to hear because it’s the truth and all the money in the world won’t provide one.


MAY 27TH: On this day in 1963, Grigoris Lambrakis, a Greek politician, doctor, athlete, and faculty member of the Medical School of Athens passed away after he was attacked.

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