The fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19 will be short-lived, said infectious diseases expert Gkikas Magiorkinis, forecasting that it may peak in January or in a second less possible scenario last through February.
Speaking to Praktoreio 104.8 FM, Magiorkinis said the surge in Covid-19 cases over the last few weeks was raising concerns because many people will seek outpatient care possibly putting pressure on the public health system.
He advised those with increased social activity to avoid contact with people in vulnerable groups and seniors over the next two-three weeks or if they must meet to conduct self-test and wear masks.
Magiorkinis reiterated that people who have been vaccinated face a lower risk. He also said the possibility of a fourth vaccine dose for susceptible groups was under consideration.
“Additional doses may be needed depending on the dynamic of the pandemic,” he said, admitting that talks were underway concerning a fourth dose for “particularly vulnerable groups”.
Referring to Greek school openings, Magiorkinis, who is also on the government’s Covid committee, said he found no reason to keep schools closed.
“So far, we do not see that there will be much benefit from schools, whether they open this week or next. Interrupting classes causes huge stress to the whole of society and we have to evaluate [the effects],” he said.
“Omicron is very contagious, so infections will occur regardless of when schools open,” Magiorkinis said. “There is no protocol that can halt the spread”.
Greek authorities will meet later today to discuss measures for schools. The committee will also discuss the issue tomorrow and final decisions are set to be announced by Thursday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has predicted that Omicron is expected to create a surge in infections between January or April.
Meanwhile, LSE Professor Ilias Mossialos said there was no reason for panic with regard to cases of coronavirus combined with the seasonal flu. A case was reported last week in Israel.