For almost two years the pandemic monopolized the interest of the media, of social media and of course public opinion until it was displaced by the energy crisis, the wave of precision and then the invasion of Ukraine
It is probably the most appropriate time for a sober account and drawing conclusions from the pandemic adventure without the intensity of the hot season.
The fact that the pandemic was indeed global is not a cause for complacency, on the contrary its generalized character is particularly useful as the pandemic showed positive aspects and revealed weaknesses that can be evaluated by the method of comparison.
The field of comparison for Greece can only be the European Union and our position among its Member States for obvious reasons. The complete scientific work of the experts is sure to fully enlighten us, while providing the necessary tools to the state and its institutions to make decisions.
The central question undoubtedly concerns the future of ESY. and public health structures in general and that is where the public debate that will sooner or later start will focus..
However, with the language of numbers and without blinders, it is worth studying the table below because it safely leads to important conclusions..
The table shows the ranking of EU countries on the one hand in terms of deaths and on the other hand in terms of vaccination. The indicators used are generally accepted (deaths per million inhabitants and the percentage of the general population that received at least one dose).
As we see, Greece is above the EU average in the death rate, ranking 17th, while in vaccination it is also above the m.o.. of the EU and in 13th place. Those who systematically monitor the evolution of the indicators on a daily basis know that the ranking of our country is not going to change and in fact in terms of deaths our distance from our immediately "best", Italy and Belgium, unfortunately he will grow up.
The main observation from the ranking is that the countries that precede Greece in the mortality index, except Estonia, are presumably the hard core of the EU, while on the contrary the countries that follow are the newer EU Member States and before their accession were countries of "existing socialism" or the former Eastern Europe.
It seems that the EU is divided into two distinct groups with Greece right in the middle and this must be evaluated because it is not accidental.
In the first group there are three common characteristics compared to Greece:
-They have a higher per capita GDP.
-They are countries of the post-war miracle of the European welfare state. This does not apply to Spain and Portugal, while applicable to non-EU countries ( Great Britain, Norway, Switzerland ).
-They have significantly higher public spending on health than private healthcare compared to us which means more resilient public health systems.
In the second group there are two common characteristics always compared to Greece:
-The process of transition of these countries to liberal democracy has not been straightforward with existing gaps in the functioning of state structures, hence health systems.
-They all show exceptionally lower to much lower vaccination rates than the European average and of course from Greece.
As the truth of the numbers shows, the end result, measured in human losses for all countries, is the component of the resilience of the public health system and the vaccination rate. The comparatively better performance of the northern countries is obviously related to the necessary social distancing where they are superior to the southern ones., but it is a parameter of deep-rooted mentality and behavior that was impossible to change with the pandemic.
The ranking of Greece should concern us twice as much, given the much better performance of the Iberian countries. We are three countries of the South with almost simultaneous accession to the EU and historically the post-war construction of the welfare state in Europe did not include us. The high vaccination coverage in Iberia is one reason for our distance in deaths, which is a boon for all kinds of deniers in the country. However, a complete study of our data shows that the public debate on the course of vaccination is as necessary., otherwise it would be a tragic mistake to limit it there.
The decisive upgrade of the NSS emerges effortlessly as a national priority that is not postponed and is reinforced by real data.
Our distance from previous countries is considerably greater than it seems given the large number of deaths that occurred in the initial phase of the pandemic in nursing homes in countries such as Spain, France, Belgium, Sweden, Italy etc.. In Greece, on the other hand, the family proved to be a shield for the protection of the elderly at the same time. From the beginning of June 2020 when the lockdown was completely lifted in the EU until today, Our position on deaths is steadily deteriorating compared to countries with more resilient public health systems. There seems to be a general agreement on the NSS upgrade, but in words.
As already noted, the resilience of public health structures is inextricably linked to public health expenditure and private health. Private spending in Greece is close to 40% with Italy following just below 20%. In all the other countries of the table that precede Greece, also of Italy, private expense is below it 15% and in some the percentage is in single digits.
It is at least striking that the Draghi government in Italy has apparently identified the problem and has the 10% of Recovery Fund resources to upgrade the public health system, when in Greece the government has provided respectively only the 4%. With the successive crises of the last two years present, the major question we are all called to answer is not who will work with whom and how many successive elections will need to be held for this, but how we stand on a timeless question:
After all, we learn from crises;