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Wastewater analysis in Athens shows big jump in Covid-19

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Testing on raw sewage in Athens shows a steep spike in Covid-19 infections over the holiday season, an expert said on Tuesday.

 

“The reality is that in the last month we have had a very large increase in the general load in the wastewater of both the coronavirus and other respiratory viruses such as influenza A and syncytial virus (RSV),” said Nikos Thomaidis, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in an interview with state-run broadcaster ERT on Tuesday. 

“The viral load of the coronavirus is much, much higher than that of the other two, but having the other two viruses together makes the combination pretty serious.”

Thomaidis said the data show that Covid-19 spread far and wide over the holiday season. “The last week has shown increases of 85-90% in these viruses and this means that in the next 2-3 weeks we will have an even higher viral load.”

 

On January 1, the National Organization for Public Health (EODY) said it had recorded 229 new admissions of patients with coronavirus in hospitals in the past 24 hours, of which 64 were in Athens.

“We have more than tripled the number of patients with coronavirus and the hospitals are under a lot of pressure,” said Gikas Magiorkinis, a professor of epidemiology and a member of the expert committee advising the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

Konstantinos Kakonikos, a pharmacist and voting member of the Panhellenic Pharmaceutical Association, told ERT that the increase in demand for self-tests and rapid tests has soared 1000% in the past few days, adding that stocks are running out.