A deadly magnitude 7.0 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami in the eastern Aegean Sea caused Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis to reschedule an address to his nation concerning new coronavirus measures.
With COVID-19 cases spiraling out of control, Greece is caught in the unenviable position of either going into another lockdown and ruining its economy, or facing a health catastrophe no nation is prepared for. Most insiders say the Greek PM will attempt to be King Solomon, and splitting the COVID-19 response as thinly as possible.
The choices are limited, really, since all last week, Greece broke record after record for both new cases and deaths. Main opposition leader Alexis Tsipras chimed in on Friday lashing out at the government ever the way it is addressing the second wave of the pandemic, saying:
“The second wave of the pandemic was expected. What we did not expect was that it would find us in such a state,” said the main opposition leader, noting that “Mr Mitsotakis, with a huge delay, is to announce a one-month plan only just today”.
The SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance leader had a point. What was the Mitsotakis administration thinking? Restarting tourism, not having a plan in place before the second-wave experts knew was coming, and taking knee jerk actions in retroactive style?
Greeks are weary of the yoyo back and forth now. And the youth of the country now believe in conspiracy theories more than they do in their own leadership. Here in Heraklion, Crete half the people just stopped wearing masks. And everyone you talk to asks if you believe the pandemic is real, or fake! The figures are going to skyrocket, this is my prediction. That is, unless the Greek PM announces some modified lockdown situation.
Although Tsipras is playing the political opportunist to a degree, his urging the government to hire more doctors and nurses, and to requisition private clinics and prescribe diagnostic tests on a mass scale is sound advice. The former Greek PM is also calling for saving lives instead of propaganda and economic mumbo jumbo. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), if the current trend continues, by February of 2021 Greece will have between 6,000 and 34,000 dead from COVID-19. Those projections also warn that if stricter measures are not taken, that every hospital bed in Greece will be needed to keep up with the demand.
All across Europe, in Latin America, and in the United States, record coronavirus cases are being recorded daily. Russia, France, Spain, Germany, and many other nations have just witnesses their highest daily infection rates. Yesterday, Greece announced 1,686 new cases and 5 new deaths as the COVID curve jetted almost straight vertical for the first time since the pandemic began. About 11% of these new cases are being reported coming in from Greece’s borders.
Earlier this month PM Mitsotakis said a second lockdown in Greece was “inconceivable” since officials have become “smarter” about the virus. The Greek leader told reporters that localized lockdowns might be the answer. Well, I am wondering why a systematic contingency plan for localized lockdowns has not already be put in place and announced so that the public could know what they might expect?
I guess we will learn more today.