The course of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic will depend, to a large degree, on the behavior of young people, health experts are saying.
Indicatively, one in 10 cases confirmed last week concerned people up to 17 years old, while one in two were aged between 18 and 39. The average age of active cases across the country halfway through the previous week, meanwhile, was 37 years old. In Attica it was 33 and in Thessaloniki just 28.
According to data from the National Organization for Public Health (EODY), of the 3,495 new cases diagnosed in the October 17-22 period, 321 (9.2%) concerned people under the age of 17, 1,636 (46, 8%) were aged 18-39, 1,214 (34.7%) were 40-64 and 324 (9.2%) were aged 65 years old or above. During the first wave of the epidemic, more than six in 10 cases (62%) involved people over the age of 40. This changed in the summer due to the greater exposure of young people to the virus during their holidays.
“To some extent this is expected, as young people are at the forefront of every activity,” said Athanasios Exadaktylos, president of the Panhellenic Medical Association and a member of the Health Ministry’s committee of experts.
“On the other hand, their youth makes them careless. We should not target them, but ask them to help, being the most exposed, in the effort by taking additional protection measures and changing their way of life for a while,” he told Kathimerini.
Growing fears that young people may transmit the virus to more vulnerable groups of the population have led to stricter measures in areas with high rates of infection, including universal mask use and a curfew from midnight until 5 a.m., which is a time when many young people gather in squares and houses after bars close at 12 a.m.