NEWS

Four crucial weeks to push virus back

four-crucial-weeks-to-push-virus-back

The whole country, and especially the Athens region, will stand on a razor’s edge for the next three or four weeks, as the viral load remains very high and the health system is overburdened, with no way to predict when the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic will start ebbing.

Experts estimate that the pressure on the system, with available beds increasingly scarce, will only rise, leaving the government no choice but to enlist all private clinics into the national health system in order to fight the coronavirus.

At the same time, all plans to open activities, such as retail trade, which was supposed to partly open on March 29, or schools, set for opening in early April, are off the table. They will not be reactivated until new cases stabilize and start to decline.

A close aide to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that the measures of slight relaxation announced Friday were of a social, not economic nature. What he meant was that they aim to shift gatherings, which, despite all efforts and warnings still happen, from indoors to outdoors, thus limiting the virus’ transmission.

The same source said that there are no more strict measures the government can take and it can only depend on citizens’ willingness to abide by the existing ones. The hope is that the last stretch of the pandemic, until vaccination makes things safer, will last as little as possible and with as few deaths as possible.

Vaccination is proceeding steadily and experts point to the fact that new cases among the over-75s are as many as at the start of the pandemic, proof that this group has been rendered less vulnerable.

The pressure on society after the repeated lockdowns was bound to affect politics, as well. Officials say that events that would get little attention ordinarily are being magnified and contribute to the erosion of trust in the government.

However, this erosion has not yet translated into differences in opinion polls. Experts agree it is the young that mostly have a low opinion of the government’s performance.

Younger people have been subjected to many restrictions for the benefit of their elders, while taking most of the blame for the spread of the virus, as happened during November, when the current lockdown first started.