NEWS

Fourth pandemic wave at the gates

With cases rising, scientists call for more vaccinations, strict compliance with safety rules

fourth-pandemic-wave-at-the-gates

Scientists are warning that a fourth Covid-19 wave of the pandemic is possible this summer, noting the alarming epidemiological indicators after a period of recession.

Ominously, they stressed, if there is no immediate preemptive reaction in the form of a rapid increase in vaccinations and strict monitoring of compliance, the average number of daily cases could reach 2,000 by the end of the month, from 740 in the last week and 400 the week before. 

Speaking to Skai TV on Monday, a professor of environmental engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, said that if the course of the epidemic is not checked, “we can go up to 1,500 [daily] cases by July 20 and to about 2,000 by the end of the month.” 

Health authorities on Monday confirmed 801 new cases and six deaths, while 173 patients are being treated by intubation.The positivity index last week has increased from 1.2% to just over 2%. 

For its part, the Health Ministry’s Committee of Experts is monitoring developments, waiting for the data of the next few days in order to make accurate estimates.

In comments to Kathimerini, professor of pathology Charalambos Gogos pointed out that in the last few days there has been a small but significant and worrying increase of cases. “Worrying due to the increased mobility of the population in the summer, and the relaxation of the measures,” he said, while also referring to the contagious Delta variant and the relaxation of mask use by members of the public.

“Another worrying point is the reduction in the number of vaccinations, which is estimated to be in the range of 20-30%, from more than 100,000 daily, down to 80,000 to 90,000.”

Gogos insists that if there is better compliance with the measures and improved vaccination coverage, then a new outbreak of the epidemic in September or even in the summer, may be avoided.

He noted that fully vaccinated people have protection from Delta variant between 96% to 85% depending on the vaccine. On the other hand, one dose of a vaccine offers only 33% protection.

Premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis also sounded the alarm, reiterating the call for people to get vaccinated. Infectious disease expert Sotiris Tsiodras noted that there has been a strong upward trend of the pandemic lately, in Attica, Crete and the South Aegean, “particularly noticeable among younger ages.”