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As COVID-19 Cases Soar in Greece, Sewage Signs Show Slowing Coming

Αssociated Press

Two men pose after remove their face masks in front of the Gate of the ancient Roman agora at the traditional Plaka district of Athens, on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS – A belated second lockdown aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 should show signs of working by the end of November, when the closure order for non-essential businesses is due to be lifted.

That was the assessment of the Aristotle University Rector Nikos Papaioannou who said that, “I think that we are starting, possibly from the middle and toward the end of this week, to flatten the curve of Thessaloniki,” where the school is located.

For now though, hospitals around the country have seen their Intensive Care Units (ICU's) and ventilators overwhelmed with jumping critical cases after the numbers jumped because the New Democracy government was slow to impose a second lockdown and kept up nightclubs and bars where people gathered.

Papaioannou's analysis came after health officials examined sewage water in the city as well as the capital of Athens and said they found indications that the viral load was lessening.

He said the curve was rising last week, although not as fast as an explosion of cases in October even as the government began locking down prefectures, then  A similar drop in cases was also predicted for Attica, which includes Athens, by Nikos Thomaidis, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at Athens University told Kathimerini, after fears the city could also be overtaken too.

There were another 2,422 infections on Nov. 17, bringing the total to 78,825, and another 63 deaths, raising total fatalities to 1,228,  both jumping exponentially in October when the government heard the alarm bells the fight was being lost.

The median age of those who died was 80 years while the number of people on ventilators was 443 – the average age 65 – and 392 were discharged from Intensive Care Units (ICUs) after recovering. 

The National Health Authority EODY also said that authorities have conducted 2,128,189 PCR tests and 119,497 rapid antigen tests since the start of the epidemic in Greece.