“We are living nights of Apocalypse. People are dying torturously and totally alone. We cannot catch up with our patient case load. We are fighting against time. We stay up all night and are exhausted. We are constantly in danger of becoming afflicted by the plague of the 21st century.”
That is what a young doctor confided to his family. He was treating patients with COVID-19 at a regional hospital.
His words leave no doubt about the gravity and critical nature of the second wave of the pandemic that is hammering northern Greece and may have a serious impact on the already battered National Health System.
There is no longer any doubt that the hospitals of Thessaloniki and Larissa are being sorely tested and are unable to handle the mounting caseload. They are sending patients to other hospitals and that is an ominous signal for the days ahead.
This means that in the coming days, hospitals, doctors, and nursing staff nationwide will face severe trials.
Society will experience dramatic conditions as cases multiply and the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic spreads forcefully in the community.
This is the bitter truth and it is certain that we shall witness tragic images similar to what we saw last spring in Northern Italy.
This will lead to even stricter public health measures and greater restrictions on the movement of citizens as tightly containing the number of cases is more crucial than ever.
This is why it is pointless right now to seek and attribute blame because that simply diverts our attention from the effort to contain the spread of the e.
As the PM said in Parliament the next ten days will severely test the entire population.
The difference with the first wave in spring is that now the international scientific community is very near the point of producing effective vaccines and new medicines.
This time around hope is well-founded and all the data confirm that at the beginning of 2021 vaccines will become available, leading the top American expert Anthony Fauci to optimistically predict that in a few months the coronavirus pandemic will cease preoccupying the international community and will become a bitter memory.
Until that moment, however, there is absolutely no room for complacency.
The Greek people know that the darkest hour is just before dawn.
Consequently, before hope clearly emerges we shall experience that hour along with the agony of waiting for a considerable period.
We shall experience tragic conditions and difficult situations that will rock the country.
This is no time for light-heartedness or a lack of foresight.
The hour of responsibility has come for all of us.
That is why all forces must coordinate in order to check the number of cases, to limit to the extent possible the number of deaths and save lives, and to protect the weak, the poor, and the vulnerable social strata.
This is the paramount duty under the current conditions and everything else comes after. Political disputes can wait.
There will be plenty of time before the pandemic is over to attribute responsibilities for sins of commission and omission, for actions and missteps, for behaviours and stances, because no one is without sin.