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Viral load in sewage shows increase of coronavirus infections in Attica

Several municipalities in Attica have recorded an increase in coronavirus infections as recent analysis of the sewage has shown. Health experts are highly concerned about this development following a relaxation of the lockdown over the Christmas and New Year days.

Ten municipalities, including Perama, Keratsini and Drapetsona, are now reportedly under code orange – one level below the highest coronavirus alert level – as health authorities have recorded an increase in infections over the last 24 hours.

These municipalities do not include those of Western Attica -Aspropyrgos, Elefsina – that have been in full lockdown since mid-December.

Attica active cases

The number of active cases, amounting to 2,215, may seem small, but there has been a significant increase in the last ten days, and what is of greater concern is that the rate of decline is particularly slow, media report.

Out of the 2,215 active cases in Attica, 468 are recorded in the center of Athens, 158 in Piraeus, 108 in Peristeri, 102 in Aspropyrgos -despite the fact that it is in lockdown-, 101 in Menidi and Zefyri, Ilion and Keratsini there are 270 active cases.

Viral load in sewage

Αt the same time, the viral load in the sewage tripled during the two days of the New Year.  According to professor of analytical chemistry at EKPA, Nikos Thomaidis, we will see an increase in infection cases next week.

Speaking to Skai TV, Thomaidis said that when people start moving again in the Attica basin, and synchronization begins, there will certainly be an increase in cases and it will be reflected in the sewage. He even stressed that we may see this next week.

The increase in viral load in the effluent, he said, may be due to co-morbidity and dispersal in a solar group that is asymptomatic, younger.

“It’s some observations that lead us to make some assumptions. “We have to be very careful in the next 2 weeks because if that is the case we may have more spread if the measures are not followed.”

He said that the last 10 days the viral load in the sewage was reduced on the average and this was a consequence of the previous measures and people’ behavior. “However, in this festive 10-day period, the results of which were seen until Sunday, two increases were observed. One on Christmas 26-27 December 2020 and one on 31 December 2020- 1 January 2021. In the first case the viral load doubled and in the second it tripled!” Thomaidis said.

Experts say that the real epidemiological picture will begin to take shape as of today, and this will include the viral impact over the festive days. If an infections “explosion” is detected, stricter lockdown like in Aspropyrgos may be imposed.

More on coronavirus in Greece here.

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One comment

  1. I’m no expert, but even a blind man can see what happens next.
    Let’s see if the government have learnt from past mistakes, and keep the country in lockdown after the 11th January.
    In my humble opinion it would be better to extend the lockdown for two weeks, to see the obvious happen, rather than open up again only to close again at the end of January for at least another month.
    Remaining in lockdown now will give the authorities better chances of controlling the situation rather than turning the monster loose again on the population.
    I will not point a finger at who will be responsible for the next rise in cases or deaths, I don’t need to, do I.