For months now I’ve been sounding the alarm. If I spill the beans here, to be honest, my tiny hotel front desk bell has echoed pitifully beneath the crushing chimes of PR priests, cathedrals of positivity worshipping the god or marketing this industry has become. Sorry to wax literary here, but Greece and much of the world is surfing a tsunami with crushing capability, in moving so fast to regain lost ground. Enter variant coronavirus Delta.
Greece just announced they’ll accept tourists vaccinated with holy water or vaccines from anyplace that makes them. Well, they may as well have. The tourism minister of the country, whose name I am tired as hell of mentioning, is down to consulting oracles looking for good omens for Protothema to report. Strangely, Greece does not even need a tourism ministry, when push comes to shove. Who in the world has not dreamed of staying on a paradise in the Aegean? How many little boys grew up pretending they were Achilles or Hercules, this time or that? Is Crete’s Minotaur and the labyrinth so obscure, we need marketing harpies to take the place of Plato, Homer, of the god Zeus himself? The Greece brand being stand-alone, just makes Athens officials’ gambling against new strains like Indian Delta that much more onerous.
News from the UK tells us, the last thing anyone wanted to happen is upon us. With Greek PR ministers using up jet airplane gas flying to Mexico, America, Russia, and now Sweden, a new coronavirus strain seems ready to kill off half of Great Britain. No, I am not kidding. The third wave of COVID powered by the new delta variant which arose in India seems like it could be the sledgehammer blow the world’s economies cannot withstand. Particularly not if our leaders sling wide the profit doors managed by bean-counting nincompoops. On the potential tourism apocalypse, let me quote directly The Telegraph story, then you do the rest since you really need to:
“It (Indian Delta) now appears to have settled at or about R1.5 with a doubling time of nine days. If you start from 5,000 and double three times you get to 40,000 cases a day by early July. If you double that again you get to 80,000 cases nine days later – a number that bursts through the January peak.”
What if the vaccines may not be able to protect us? What if Greece’s officials have miscalculated again? Better yet, is anyone in Athens concerned about and planning for such a contingency? We also need to imagine a scenario where an even more resistant strain of mutates. This headlong dive into the uncertain pandemic waters by Europe’s leadership reminds us that our leadership never had us protected or prepared in the first place. And nothing has changed.
A headline from Chile says it all. “Chile shuts capital Santiago once more as vaccines fail to quell rampant cases,” is the scenario I’ve beaten out since these officials restarted the 2020 tourism season. Half of Santiago is fully vaccinated, but COVID-19 is filling up hospitals once again. Sadly, even if the Greek ministers are paying attention, they had as soon spin the roulette wheel as take appropriate emergency action. Our world is run by knee-jerking reactionaries, not proactive geniuses. I only hope they do not end up killing a few million more with their bandaid strategies.