NEWS

Experts note high Covid death rate

Experts note high Covid death rate

Despite the large percentage of vaccination coverage and the predominance of the milder Omicron 1 and Omicron BA.2 variants, a high number of deaths due to Covid-19 have been recorded since the beginning of the year.

From the beginning of the year until Tuesday, 7,479 deaths had been registered, which corresponds to 26.45% of the 28,274 fatalities since the start of the pandemic. 

By comparison, in the corresponding period last year, there were 4,123 deaths of Covid patients, amounting to 14.58% of the total.

Broken down for 2022, the number of deaths peaked in the last week of January, when on average more than 100 deaths were recorded daily, falling to an average of 44 in late March, before the rate rose again in recent days to just over 60 deaths.

In comments to Kathimerini, the president of the National Public Health Organization (EODY), Theoklis Zaoutis, said the number of deaths depends on the number of cases, as well as their characteristics. 

“In order to compare two periods, we must take into account the number of cases, their age distribution and the vaccination coverage in the population,” he explained.

The vast majority of deaths now concern people aged 60 and over, which comprise a high-risk group. 

Of the 739 deaths reported in April 1-12, 711 (96.2%) belong to that age group, whose vaccination coverage is just over 90%.

A key factor explaining high fatalities are the chronic shortcomings of the Greek health system, according to Athanasios Tsakris, the director of the Microbiology Laboratory of the Medical School of Athens.

He told Kathimerini there are no specific protocols for the management of Covid patients so that every doctor knows which patients should be referred to a hospital and when this should be done. 

At the same time, he also cited staff shortages and hospital infections “as measures have weakened due to the fatigue of the system from the pandemic.”