Greece may see the Delta strain of COVID-19 spread very quickly, becoming the dominant strain in the nation by the end of August, the president of the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) said on Thursday.
Panagiotis Arkoumaneas warned that Greeks need to become vaccinated in order to avoid the strain, which originated in India in late 2020, creating a massively increased case load.
Greece detects first few cases of Delta Covid strain
Speaking to a Greek television channel named SKAI TV, Arkoumaneas said that 11 cases of the Covid-19 variant have been detected in Greece, namely in Heraklion (Crete), Athens, and Corinth.
He highlighted that the majority of these were found in Heraklion, meaning that those who live there or visit should be extra careful and make every effort to get their vaccinations.
“We have already announced 11 cases of the Delta variant and more are expected to be announced today,” Arkoumaneas warned, alluding to how quickly Covid-19 can spread to overwhelm a population.
“Those who are not vaccinated are at risk,” he stressed, continuing by informing those watching that the Delta strain of covid, which has already been detected in Greece, is 50 to 60 percent more contagious than the Alpha strain that formed in Great Britain- which was itself much more virulent than the original coronavirus.
The Alpha variant, first detected in Kent, England, was early on proven to be much more contagious than the original strain of Covid-19 which spread from Wuhan, China.
“In order to get through the summer, we must be vaccinated,” Arkoumaneas stressed.
A special meeting was held in Athens on Thursday to discuss the spread of the variant. In attendance was Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias, Infectious diseases expert Sotiris Tsiodras and the Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office, Akis Skertsos. They were also joined by the Deputy Prime Minister, Theodoros Libanios.
US shares Greece’s concern
The Chief Medical Advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Tuesday that the Delta variant is the “greatest threat” to the US in its campaign to eliminate covid.
He stressed that the strain has already taken ahold in the country, with it making up 20 percent of new cases in the US, a number which has doubled within the past two weeks.
“Similar to the situation in the U.K., the Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate Covid-19,” Fauci noted, implying that the US could see a similar spike in cases as has England.
The Delta mutation of the coronavirus is already causing a new spike in the numbers of new coronavirus cases in Europe — in the United Kingdom and Portugal in particular.
The Delta variant cases reported in the UK and Portugal have forced officials to either reimpose their previous lockdown restrictions or even to put aside their much-anticipated plans for lifting pandemic-related rules.
The Delta variant now makes up more than 60 percent of new cases of covid-19 identified in the UK, which sets a worrying precedent for the US until more people become inoculated.
Fauci expressed his belief that the US has “the tools” to defeat the Delta variant, so long as more Americans become vaccinated to “crush the outbreak”.