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Greece: New wave ‘most contagious’

The latest wave of the coronavirus epidemic in Greece is the “most contagious yet,” according to Professor of Pulmonology and Vice President of the Hellenic Respiratory Society Nikos Tzanakis.

“Actual case numbers are not 15,000-20,000 but 30,000-50,000,” he told Open TV on Saturday.

He noted that the BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strand of Covid-19 is transmitted at an extremely rapid pace and has “strong symptoms,” though this is not causing alarm.

“We are worried by the reinfections that some patients are experiencing as they modify our defense systems against other viruses,” he said.

Tzanakis predicted that the current wave will peak in late July and de-escalate very slowly, with likely ups and downs, in August. “But we do fear a new variant. A surprise may be in store in late September,” he predicted.

For his part, 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 is not out of the woods.

“We are not at the tail end of the pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 continues to evolve and unfortunately this is something we cannot predict and control,” he told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, adding that the virus is producing new variants that evade immune defenses resulting in reinfections, which have been on the rise since the predominance of the Omicron strain.

He also noted that vaccine booster doses reduce the likelihood of reinfection and increase immune protection against the risk of severe Covid-19 disease.