How tourism in Greece will shape mutations and the course of the pandemic

Cases of new supertransmissible mutations (Omicron 4 and 5) in Attica and Crete are dangerously increasing, while Covid has increased positivity and an extremely high upward trend since the very first days of June, on the islands popular with tourists.

Last week, experts raised concerns about the surge in Omicron mutations (NE.4 and NE.5), which are responsible for the increase in cases in European countries such as Portugal and Germany. However, Greece does not seem to be dominated by any of the new Omicron mutations yet.

According to Dimitris Thanos, Academician and President of the Scientific Council of the Institute for Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens (IIBEAA), eventually only one of the two Omicron variants (either BA.4 or BA.5) will prevail, as it did in the end. in the past.

But what determines the predominance of the variant at this stage? “One of the two will become dominant. We don’t know which one. However, the one that comes “from outside” will dominate. If more BA.4 mutations arrive in Greece from abroad, Omicron 4 will prevail, if more BA.5 mutations arrive, it will dominate,” explains Mr. Thanos.

Given that Greece is a country with high inbound tourism flows, and the borders are wide open this year, any mutations that can change a good epidemiological picture will depend solely on the country of origin of tourists.

In particular, as follows from the EODY data, if in the previous two months the cases of Omicron 4 mutation in Attica accounted for only 3.3% of the total, then in a week they reached 10.8%. At the same time, samples of Omicron 5, responsible for the upcoming return of the compulsory mask measure, in Portugal rose from 1.8% to 2.4% in one week.

The EODY table shows a dramatic increase in the number of new supertransmissible mutations of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Also significant is the increase in mutations reported in Crete and specifically in Heraklion, where, at the same time, a 64% increase in cases has been recorded in the last 14 days, according to EODY data processing.

Areas with a high tendency to increase the number of cases and a high positive result, important for predicting epidemiological data, in addition to being positive, is an indicator of the trend of increasing incidence over the past 14 days, which is increasing in popular tourist destinations.

According to the EODY data processing carried out by covid19-greece.tkAndros has seen a trend towards an increase of 200% in the last 14 days, Zakynthos by 125%, Paros and Kos by 100%.

The trend is increasing in Ikaria and Lefkada. At the same time, according to the weekly EODY report, the coronavirus positivity index is at a very high level on three other islands, and exactly on Santorini where it reached 23.4%, on Mykonos with 22.91% and on Milos with 19.26%.

The positivity index for Covid is also high in Paros, where the positivity rate has reached 16.22%. In fact, this island is the only one that has such a high positive result, combined with an upward trend in the number of cases, as in Mykonos and Santorini, the upward trend is 13% and 11% respectively.

It is specified that the average positive for the week is 4.88%. However, in the summer, according to experts, fluctuations in the epidemiological curve are expected (and the norm) in Greece. What is needed is that hospitals have enough free Covid and ICU-Covid beds and that the national health system is not in danger of collapse.

However, at this stage, most of the Covid intensive care units are empty, as only 110 of the approximately 750 beds are intubated. This means that even if there is an outbreak at some point in the summer, the Ministry of Health is already ready to deal with the situation before it loses control.

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