NEWS

Expert warns of imminent fourth wave unless transmission is controlled

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An expert in exposure science on Friday warned that a fourth wave of Covid-19 may hit Greece much earlier than anticipated given the increasing prevalence of the more transmissible Delta variant and a spike in new cases.

“By June 9, we will be at the start of the fourth wave,” Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, a professor of environmental engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, warned in comments to Antenna television.

“We’ll reach around 1,000 new cases a day by the end of August,” he added, expressing concerns about the impact on transmission rates from increased movement in the runup to the peak of the summer season.

“We already have a significant increase of the Delta variant in Crete – and in Iraklio in particular – and also in Athens, where it is gaining momentum. So if we allow it to evolve, we’ll see it transmitting fast when Athenians head for their villages or go on holiday,” he said.

Stressing the importance of widespread vaccination in stemming the march of the virus, Sarigiannis said that his team at the Environmental Engineering Laboratory has “worked many different models, with or without vaccination, with different vaccination levels and rates, and it is clear that a high and fast vaccination rate – reaching over 80-83% of the adult population by the end of August – is the only thing that can save us from a very intense fourth wave.”

“I have absolutely no doubt of the importance of being vaccinated,” he stressed.

Sarigiannis’ comments come in the wake of a significant spike in infections over recent days. The National Organization for Public Health reported 761 new cases on Thursday, 633 on Wednesday and 605 on Tuesday. Last Thursday, new cases had come to 489.