Originally published in the Greek edition of Kathimerini on 19th September 2021.
As in August, we await an equally difficult September in terms of the number of COVD-19 patients who fell ill and ended up in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). As "K" wrote last Wednesday and confirmed last Friday in the monthly report of the Health Monitoring Unit, the death rate has broken every record since the occurrence of the pandemic in Cyprus. According to official estimates, "in August 2021, the number of deaths due to the underlying cause of COVID-19 disease has increased by 102% compared to July 2021, and is considered the worst month in terms of number of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic." . Taking into account the cause of death listed in the medical certificates, the total number of deaths of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in August 2021 (93), exceeded the number of deaths in December 2020 (86) and January 2021 (86). From the beginning of the pandemic until today, the percentage for the three months with the highest numbers, reached 42% of the total number of deaths. It is followed by April 2021 with a percentage of 11% (66), May 2021 with a percentage of 9% (58) and July with a percentage of 7%. 75% of the total number of deaths of people diagnosed with COVID-19 are people aged 69-85, with a median age of death of 78 years.
The big bet for the epidemiological team...is the immediate and decisive reaction as soon as the first worrying signs appear in schools.
However, for September, the estimates of experts, as well as the data from the daily epidemiological records, suggest that the August trend in the area of deaths is not expected to differ, recording only a small decline. Specifically, from September 1st to September 16th, officially, 33 serious incidents ended with an average of 2.06. In the same category, August closed with 2.67 and July with 1.4 deaths on average. Given the correlation of new cases and hospitalizations, the number of deaths is expected to decline, more, towards the end of September to the beginning of October. During that period, as the experts say, the positive picture recorded by the new cases and the hospitalizations, from the beginning of this month, will be reflected in this category as well.
In the pandemic assessment team, the increase in the number of cases that resulted is attributed to the aggressive behavior of the Delta mutation and the spread of the virus after the recession of the last Lockdown. More specifically, in the previous period, a large number of cases accumulated in the second half of July and the beginning of August, which according to the experts was also a serious factor in the large number of deaths. What catches the attention of data analysts are two elements found in the last wave of the pandemic: first, serious hospitalizations of younger people than in previous waves of the pandemic, and second, a greater number of cases requiring intubation while extending their hospital stay. .
Schools and new cases
Apart from the above factors, the other indicator that attracts the intense attention of the experts is the opening of the schools, with the experts from next week being able to give a first assessment of its imprint on the pandemic. Based on the daily updates of the Ministry of Health, there is a gradual differentiation in the numbers of new cases that have been identified in high schools and lyceums, but they do not differentiate the general picture of daily cases whose trend continues to be declining. The big bet for the epidemiological team, as described in its "K" member, is the immediate and decisive reaction as soon as the first worrying signs appear in schools. The unknown factor for the specialists at this time is the degree of penetration of the new cases in the hospitals, in the next period. There it will be seen, as we have been told, if there is an outbreak of the pandemic. If anything positive can be sought in the current situation, according to experts, it is the rates of vaccinations over 12 years that in combination with health protocols create a shield of protection in schools.