Thessaloniki’s coronavirus infections are finally on the decrease, after months of surges this Winter, according to researchers who shared their findings on Friday.
Greece’s second-largest city had been a hotbed of the infections, after the capital of Athens, for some time. Since the beginning of the outbreak, scientists have been measuring the presence of the virus in wastewater from all the major cities in Greece.
Very accurate way to measure virus in the general population
Doing this provides a glimpse of exactly how widespread the infection is — perhaps a more accurate way to see just how much infection is out there, since it is not determined by individuals voluntarily presenting themselves for treatment.
This also lets researchers know whether the cases are on the rise or on the wane, allowing officials to take the appropriate public health measures.
The coordinator of the waterborne virus research, Professor Nikos Papaioannou, from Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University, told the Greek press that next week’s experiments will show whether or not the social activity which took place over the recent holiday period resulted in more infections.
Disturbing findings back in November of 2020
Back in November, it was reported that it was already known 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) at that time. 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.
At that time, professor Theodoros Karapantsios of Aristotle’s University’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.”