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Pandemic to wane in May, expert says

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The coronavirus pandemic in Greece is likely to wane over the course of May, though sporadic cases are likely to be recorded over the summer, an Athens University expert has told Kathimerini based on a comparative analysis of data from Greece and other countries. 

The decision by Greece to take early action to respond to Covid-19 led to a smaller death toll as well as a slow rise in the number of cases and a quick flattening of the curve compared to countries such as Italy, France and Spain, according to Yiannis Toundas, a professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Athens. 

Toundas compared data from the National Health Organization (EODY) on the evolution of the virus in Greece between February 26, when the first case was recorded, and April 22, with data from the Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine on the pandemic’s course in other countries.

On the basis of the current data, and as long as there are no outbreaks in densely populated areas, “the pandemic is on course to extinguish during the month of May,” Toundas said. If that occurs, then the duration of the pandemic in Greece will have been three months, as was the case in Wuhan, China, where it originated. 

According to the professor, Greece had the highest concentration of Covid-19 cases between March 23 and April 3, with deaths peaking between April 2 and 12. The ratio of diagnosed cases to deaths is 20 to 1, he said. The most encouraging data is the low transmission rate (or R0 value) of just 0.43, indicating the number of newly infected people from a single case. In France the rate was recently 2.48 and the global value is 1.68, Toundas said.