Expert sounds alarm over viral load in capital’s wastewater


An expert in analytical chemistry who heads a team monitoring the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the Greek capital’s wastewater warned on Thursday of a surge similar to that last seen in the fall, which sent infections to record-breaking highs and piled pressure onto the public health system.

“Right now, the viral load in Attica is quite high, at around 2,000 to 2,300 cases a day. We last saw such levels in November and in July of the previous wave,” Athens University Professor Nikolaos Thomaidis told Skai television.

Thomaidis explained that the latest readings point to a looming explosion in infection numbers in the weeks ahead – particularly if people let down their guard over the holidays and the more transmissible Omicron variant takes hold.

Hospital admissions will also rise if cases go up again, he warned, saying that people over 60 are particularly at risk. 

“The situation is especially alarming for people who have not been vaccinated or have only had one dose,” Thomaidis added, saying that restrictions on gatherings and increased vaccination coverage is the only way to stave off such a development.