Few signs of respite as November draws to a close

Few signs of respite as November draws to a close

November came to a close on Tuesday with the hard coronavirus data showing few signs of easing after one of the toughest months Greece has experienced since the start of the pandemic.

Despite basic vaccination coverage of the country’s adult population reaching 75%, Covid-19 claimed 2,219 lives in November alone, with 82.7% of those deaths relating to people aged 65 years old and above.

In its daily bulletin on Tuesday afternoon, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) reported 7,486 new infections and 88 Covid-related fatalities, taking Greece’s coronavirus death toll to 18,157.

There was a small ray of hope in the seven-day average of new infections, which stood at 6,304, a decrease of around 450 from the week before, though the figure is still cause for alarm given that in the last week of October new cases had averaged at 3,900 a day.

The news is especially worrisome for the country’s over-burdened hospitals, as EODY reported that 664 Covid patients were on ventilators in intensive care on Tuesday; that was 67 more than a week earlier and 234 more than on November 1.

Wastewater studies, meanwhile, showed that the viral load remains high in most parts of the country and is rising steeply in others, such as in Patra, where it shot up 80% on Tuesday compared to a week earlier, as well as in Agios Nikolaos on Crete (+65%) and Ioannina in northwestern Greece (+40%).

“It is imperative that we cut the pandemic’s course,” Deputy Health Minister Mina Gaga said on Tuesday after a meeting with the management of the Ippokrateio Hospital in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, where ICU capacity has been exceeded and several critical Covid patients are having to be treated in repurposed operating theaters. 

“We truly have too many cases. The pressure the system is under is terrifying; the danger for each of these patients and the staff is terrifying,” she said.

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