Now that we’re in the third chapter of the pandemic, we no longer pay much attention to numbers, ratios and charts, no longer follow how many people have died in the world and how many in our country.
There was a time when we’d make bets about what color jacket former deputy civil protection minister Nikos Hardalias would be wearing at the daily public briefing – military-style khaki or patriotic blue? – and now we don’t even care about the color of the Covid-19 dispersion map, even though it is constantly flirting with deep red. The infectious diseases experts have almost disappeared from our television screens, giving way, instead, to retired navy and air force officers and geostrategy experts, followed closely by analysts on the matters of inflation and the energy crisis.
The war in Ukraine sapped what little energy we had left and our attention is now on the number of people being killed by cannons and missiles. The daily Covid-related death toll, after all, has been reduced to a mundane snippet on the news and a couple of lines in the newspaper. And just like that, we passed the 6-million mark on a global level and here in Greece, fatalities are almost at 27,500 – though this does not seem to have shaken the confidence of the government, which keeps making announcements about how measures will be relaxed.
With a total of nearly 3 million cases, Greece ranks 37th worldwide, doing worse – much worse – than countries with a much larger population. It is doing worse than China, which on March 23 ranked 51st with 1,273,104 cases and some 12,000 deaths in total. On that same day, China announced 11,890 new cases, the United States 8,321, Brazil 10,637, Turkey 11,194 and Greece 27,268. Sure, numbers don’t always paint the real picture, but in this case they do tell us that Greece is doing worse in vital indexes than countries that we felt somewhat superior to until recently.
In Shanghai, a city of 25 million, authorities decided to impose a rotating lockdown on half the city at a time after reporting just 2,269 new cases last Saturday. Here we get self-congratulations and complacency, perhaps as an antidote to the skyrocketing costs, which come like a final blow.
Of course we should not react as strictly as China, but we should at least listen to the World Health Organization, which scolded us for acting as though we’re out of the woods, way too soon. It seems that the bar the government says we’ve surpassed was simply brought down several notches.