Health authorities in Greece announced 136,077 new cases of COVID-19 and 271 virus-related deaths during the week of July 18th to July 24th. Of these, nineteen percent were identified as reinfections.
The National Organization for Public Health (EODY) also announced that there are currently 132 intubated patients being treated in Intensive Care Units.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Greece since the start of the pandemic rose to 4,349,423, with a total of 30,999 deaths over the same period.
At the same time, the average weekly viral load of municipal wastewater rose in Ioannina (+32%), in Xanthi (+28%), in Attica (+20%) and in Thessaloniki (+12%) while it decreased in Patras (-52%), Larissa (-43%), Chania, Crete (-40%), Agios Nikolaos, Crete (-37%), Corfu (-18%) and in Alexandroupoli (-11%).
The viral load remained more or less stable in Iraklio, Crete (+10%) and Volos (-6%).
Greece is hot by the BA.5 subvariant
Greece is currently hit by the spread of the most contagious wave of COVID-19. The BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strand is transmitted rapidly and has strong symptoms. Even though fully vaccinated, one can be infected with serious symptoms, including being put on ventilators.
“We are worried by the reinfections that some patients are experiencing as they modify our defense systems against other viruses,” Professor of Pulmonology and Vice President of the Hellenic Respiratory Society Nikos Tzanakis said recently.
COVID-19 wave to “peak in Greece in late July”
Tzanakis predicted that the current wave would peak in Greece in late July and de-escalate very slowly. With a roller coaster ride in August, during the height of the summer tourism season, the government is going full speed ahead anyway.
“But we do fear a new variant. A surprise may be in store in late September,” he predicted when many of those who have three shots of vaccines will likely get a fourth booster a month before flu shots will be available.
Giorgos Pappas, a Doctor of Pathology at the University of Ioannina Medical School with research work in the field of infectious diseases, agreed that Greece should brace for more.
“We are not at the tail end of the pandemic,” he told the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency. “SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve and unfortunately, this is something we cannot predict and control.”
While much of society is acting as if the coronavirus is gone, it isn’t, and he said it’s producing new variants that evade immune defenses resulting in reinfections, rising since the appearance of Omicron.
However, he also said that vaccine boosters do reduce the likelihood of reinfection and increase immune protection against the risk of severe COVID-19.