Yes, booster shots against Covid-19 are recommended but they are not necessary. Yes, people over the age of 60 should have all the available boosters, but they can wait a bit. Yes, those under 60 can get the shot, but only if they want to. And what if someone catches SARS-CoV-2 after the first booster? When should they get the second booster? It’s murky out there. One expert says one thing, another says another, and the opinions flying around are even more varied than the subvariants of the Omicron strain.
The musts – mandatory restrictions and mandatory vaccines for specific groups – have given way to a new approach, where everything has become optional. The National Vaccination Committee is leaving it up to the citizens to decide what they will and will not do. Each individual is free to follow whatever path they want, based on their own conjectures. There are no clear-cut answers, no firm instructions. And right at the top of this very wobbly structure, there’s the person who shrugs their shoulders and says, “We’re all going to catch it at some point anyway.”
So, should we be celebrating this newfound freedom? Que sera sera? Live and let live? Can the conspiracy theorists, the paranoiacs, the responsible citizens, the vaccinated and unvaccinated, sail off together into the sunset, arms around each other?
There is something very wrong about this new attitude of “national reconciliation” with the virus. No one expects the experts to have all the answers about the course of a pandemic that is constantly throwing us curve balls and is obviously nowhere near to disappearing. But shouldn’t they, at the very least, agree on a few fundamentals (like vaccinations) before going public? How helpful is it for the public to feel like it is on a rollercoaster ride to who knows where after riding the fear train for more than two years?
Sure, we understand that the economy has needs and Greece needs tourism, but was it absolutely necessary to abolish mask wearing in indoor public spaces (with a handful of exceptions)? The most basic measure for protecting yourself and others has become the reverse of what it was at the start of the pandemic, when the person refusing to wear a mask was the one people pointed at and not the other way around. Now wearing a mask at a supermarket is taking the risk of being treated like the schoolroom nerd.
The fact that almost every protection measure has been abolished is not the worst of it. The worst of it is that it’s so blatantly obvious why this was done – and this does nothing to keep the public healthy or to safeguard Greece’s credibility.