Athens University Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Sotiris Tsiodras, one of the PM’s top advisors on COVID-19, has said that he expects a gradual return to normalcy, but that the virus’s endemic presence will continue.

Last week, California became the first state in the US to adopt an “endemic” approach to managing the virus, with a plan that emphasises prevention and quick reaction to outbreaks over mandated masking and business shutdowns.

Speaking at a conference entitled “Two years into the pandemic: Challenges and lessons for the Armed Forces”, Tsiodras said that the data until now show that the Omicron variant will lead to a stabilisation of the situation.

Possible end of the emergency stage of the pandemic

Tsiodras indicated that this not the beginning of the end of COVID-19, but rather the end of the beginning, which is to say the end of the “emergency stage” of the pandemic.

He underlined that each country must find its own transitional path to normalcy, based on the epidemiological data and it demographics, and he noted that for Europe a “freedom plan” is the next priority.

“Professors at Oxford say, ‘Do not fool yourselves, the Omicron variant will affect us all.’ That, based on the current data, will lead to a return to some form stability, to a change in our way of thinking, and to proper management with all the tools of science,” Tsiodras said.

As for Greece, he said that although there is a high number of infections, there is not a corresponding death rate, as the Omicron variant leads to milder disease, even as the vaccination rate rises.