Cities and Counties Track Covid Spikes Through Wastewater Surveillance


As of December 31, 2021, cities in different regions across the US (Boston, Miami, and San Francisco) monitored COVID spikes in their wastewater. The surges looked to be greater than the cases reported around the same time in 2020. In San Francisco, a medical leader predicts that 1 in 12 people have the virus while staying asymptomatic. As we enter mid-January, the omicron variant continues to spread like wildfire, with officials predicting a virus peak around the middle of the month.


With at-home rapid tests data not reported to the government or medical professionals, official case numbers are becoming less dependable. Wastewater surveillance has been a reliable way to mark the actuality of Covid cases in communities. According to an article on Bloomberg;


“Around this time last year, an analysis found 1,500 copies of Covid RNA per milliliter in Massachusetts water, said Newsha Ghaeli, co-founder and president of Biobot Analytics, which is tracking wastewater Covid in twenty states. Now, it is up to 7,000 copies per milliliter, she said. Past research suggests virus spikes in wastewater precede spikes in clinical cases by four to ten days, she said, though those studies predate vaccines.”

Other communities in Miami and Orlando are also seeing spikes from their wastewater data. With the unpredictability of the virus, it is hard to say how long the omicron surge will linger in the United States.


Learn More on Bloomberg and the NY Times


Read More About the CDC’s Wastewater Surveillance on our Previous Blog Post