Covid-19 trajectory still steep in Thessaloniki, waste analysis shows

Covid-19 trajectory still steep in Thessaloniki, waste analysis shows

Testing on raw sewage in Thessaloniki has indicated that the northern port city is not close to flatting the curve of coronavirus transmission, following a steep spike in infections over the past few weeks.

According to the latest report by the city’s Aristotle University and the EYATH water and sewerage company – who have been measuring the prevalence of the novel coronavirus with regular tests – 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 new infections last week.

“The findings are not surprising at this stage of the pandemic. The upward trend is continuing, indicating the prevalence of the virus in the community,” the rector of Aristotle University and supervisor of the project, Nikos Papaioannou, told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-MPA) on Tuesday.

“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 added.

Asked to comment on last week’s dip in 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 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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