After continual testing of the wastewater in Greece’s large cities as a way to predict a spike in Covid-19, it now appears that the trajectory of the virus is still steep in Thessaloniki, according to a report released on Tuesday.
Testing on raw sewage in Greece’s second largest city of Thessaloniki has indicated that the northern port city is not close to flattening the curve of coronavirus transmission, following a steep spike in infections over the past few weeks.
The latest report, released by the city’s Aristotle University and the EYATH water and sewerage utility – which have both been measuring the prevalence of the novel coronavirus with regular testing – said that samples taken from the city’s waste treatment plant last week showed an increased concentration of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, despite a small dip in the number of new infections last week.
It has been previously shown that individuals can have the coronavirus present in their waste even before they develop symptoms of Covid-19.
“The findings are not surprising at this stage of the pandemic,” the rector of Aristotle University and supervisor of the project, Nikos Papaioannou, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Tuesday. He added “the upward trend is continuing, indicating the prevalence of the virus in the community.
“When the measures that have been implemented start yielding results, the increase will stop being exponential at first, before stabilizing and gradually reversing to a downward course. We hope that measurements over the next two weeks will reflect such a course,” he noted.
Asked to comment on last week’s dip in the number of new infections in the northern port city, professor Theodoros Karapantsios of the Aristotle’s Department of Chemistry, and a member of the research team, said that the newest measurements “show we are a long way from flattening the epidemiological curve.”
He said that the discrepancy between the findings and the reduction in reported infections could be due to an increase in the viral load of symptomatic patients or to a rise in the number of asymptomatic carriers, “or a combination of the two.”
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