New Covid Strain and the Urgent Call for the Return of Masks in Greece

Scientists call for masks to be reintroduced in response to a new Covid strain (Image by fernando zhiminaicela from Pixabay)

The global fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has taken yet another unexpected turn with the emergence of a new Covid variant. This new strain, known for its increased transmissibility, has prompted scientists to advocate reintroducing mask-wearing as a crucial preventive measure.

Scientists in Greece are calling for reintroducing mask-wearing as a crucial preventive measure. Masks have been proven to be effective in reducing the transmission of respiratory droplets, thus helping to minimize the spread of the virus. Experts argue that the new coronavirus variant’s increased transmissibility warrants using masks even in outdoor settings where social distancing is possible.

Dr. Trisha Greenhalgh, a primary healthcare expert at the University of Oxford and member of Independent SAGE, expressed her concern on Twitter, stating that it appears to be time to wear masks again.

Severe COVID-19 has the potential to cause lasting modifications to the body’s innate immune system, which is its first defense against pathogens. This discovery comes from a small study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health. 

It is reasonably certain that we have entered another Covid-19 wave, wrote Dr. Christina Pagel.

Since the start of July 2023, daily hospital admissions with covid have been increasing (more than doubled as at 4 August compared to four weeks earlier), and the number of patients in hospital primarily because of covid has also doubled in that time. Secondary indicators such as the Zoe Symptom Tracker app and Google Trends of searches for COVID-19 symptoms have also been increasing since early July. So it is reasonably certain that we have entered another COVID-19 wave.

Covid is on the rise again—so what next?
The COVID-19 nightmare continues.

There have been calls for reimplementing mask-wearing in the United States as Covid-related hospitalizations have risen by 12%. Dr. Céline Gounder, a former member of President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 Advisory Board transition team, suggested that wearing masks in crowded indoor public spaces would be advisable as the autumn and winter season approaches.

Covid-19 in Greece Now

According to the recent weekly report published by the health authority EODY, Greece has experienced a continuous increase in the test positivity rate for COVID-19. The number of hospital admissions for COVID-19 rose from 321 from July 24th to July 30th to 468 in the first week of August, marking a worrisome seventy-eight percent increase compared to the average weekly admissions over the past four weeks.

While there was a slight drop in the number of new intubations from July 31st to August 6th, from nine to eight, it remained thirty-three percent higher than the average number of new intubations over the past four weeks. At the time of EODY’s most recent report, eighteen individuals with COVID-19 were intubated in Greek hospitals.

Additionally, twenty-two individuals between the ages of sixty-nine and ninety-seven sadly died. On a positive note, the rates of influenza-like illness have remained low, staying below ten percent. During the first week of August, no severe cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza were admitted to the ICU, and no influenza-related deaths were recorded.

Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax should protect against the new “Eris” (EG.5) variant of Covid, now the dominant strain. Also, note that Eris is more transmissible or severe than previous Omicron subvariants.

Eris is potentially more contagious than previous variants, although experts do not know yet if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains.

Covid-19 EG.5-Eris Symptoms

It is important to be aware of the symptoms commonly associated with EG.5. While the exact presentation may vary from person to person, it is anticipated that symptoms from this subvariant will resemble those of the broader Omicron family. Common symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, body aches, and loss of taste or smell.

People 65 or older or who have a weak immune system are at higher risk of the virus traveling to the lower respiratory tract, causing severe illness.

Does EG.5 cause symptoms that are different from other coronavirus subvariants?

It is crucial to note that these symptoms can also occur with other variants of COVID-19, making it even more challenging to pinpoint the specific variant without genomic sequencing.

As with any COVID-19 infection, if you experience symptoms that could indicate EG.5 or any other variant, it is essential to seek medical advice and get tested. Testing can help confirm the presence of the virus and inform appropriate measures for isolation and treatment. Additionally, following public health guidelines such as wearing masks, practicing good hand hygiene, and maintaining physical distance can help prevent the spread of any COVID-19 variant, including EG.5.

Greek Goddess Eris (Image generated with Bing Image Creator powered by DALL·E)

COVID-19 EG.5 Variant Named After the Greek Goddess of Discord and Strife

Eris was named for the enigmatic Greek goddess of discord and strife. Eris is the daughter of Nyx, the primordial goddess of the night, and Erebus, the primordial god of darkness. According to Greek mythology, she is also the sister of Aether, the god of light, and Hemera, the goddess of day. While her family lineage places her among the most ancient and powerful of deities, it is Eris’s unique nature that sets her apart from the rest.

Eris is best known for personifying discord, chaos, and strife. She thrives on creating conflict and disharmony among gods and mortals alike. Her purpose is to disrupt order and challenge the established balance of power. Eris revels in sowing the seeds of discord, often leading to dire consequences.

One of the most famous episodes involving Eris is the story of the Golden Apple, which directly led to the Trojan War. At the wedding of Peleus and Thetis, Eris, feeling excluded from the guest list, cunningly threw a golden apple into the crowd. The apple had the inscription “for the fairest” on it, causing fierce competition among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, each claiming it as their own. The dispute eventually led to the Trojan War, where countless lives were lost.

Beyond her direct involvement in the Trojan War, Eris’s influence permeates throughout Greek mythology and beyond. She serves as a reminder that discord and strife are inherent in human nature and can have both destructive and transformative effects. Eris’s presence is a testament to the delicate balance between chaos and order, challenging the gods and mortals to confront their own desires and ambitions.

Eris is often represented holding a golden apple or a flaming torch, signifying the spark of discord she ignites. She is portrayed as a mischievous and unpredictable force, a constant reminder that even the most stable relationships and societies can be upended by conflict. Eris’s significance extends beyond Greek mythology, as her influence can be seen in various literary works, art, and even psychology.

Categories: Featured Greece
Mihaela Lica Butler: A former military journalist, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/mihaelalicabutler">Mihaela Lica-Butler</a> owns and is a senior partner at Pamil Visions PR and editor at Argophilia Travel News. Her credentials speak for themselves: she is a cited authority on search engine optimization and public relations issues, and her work and expertise were featured on BBC News, Reuters, Yahoo! Small Business Adviser, Hospitality Net, Travel Daily News, The Epoch Times, SitePoint, Search Engine Journal, and many others. Her books are available on <a href="https://amzn.to/2YWQZ35">Amazon</a>
Related Post