Number Two And Covid 19

April 2, 2021
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Flush It Out

How monitoring your *Number 2* may help protect your Number 1.

“Wastewater from an entire dorm, or an entire segment of a campus, could be tested to determine whether there is coronavirus in that sewage.”

Adm. Brett Giroir, a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service, on "experimental approaches, that look interesting, if not promising" for COVID-19 surveillance, answering a Senate hearing question about how children & young adults can safely return to school.


Wait. What?

  • Scientists track viral shedding: how & when a sick person spreads the virus & level of contagion in different scenarios.
  • Genetic evidence of SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) is present in stool samples (though we don’t know if it can spread that way).
  • Why It Matters: Monitoring wastewater *may* help early detection of COVID-19 cases in communities (without relying on individual tests).

What To Know:

  • Precedent: Researchers have looked at city wastewater for presence of opioids, hormones.
  • Vancouver, WA sending daily sewage samples to Arizona State Univ, a leading lab in this field.
  • Bend, Oregon: one of 300+ cities participating in a study with a bio startup aligned w/ Harvard, MIT.
  • CDC to Politico: Gov’t itself considering monitoring sewage but hasn’t yet.

Something To Consider:

“There is not a lot of evidence of transmission through stools. I know at least one tabloid in the UK got a lot of coverage by someone speculating that COVID-19 could be spread by flatulence or, to quote the headline, by farting. There really is not a lot of science behind that.”

CDC Deputy Dir. for Infectious Diseases, Dr. Jay Butler.

A lead researcher in wastewater surveillance refers to our sewage systems as “the information superhighway under your feet.” Just how much sewage would be needed to get an accurate read of COVID-19 community outbreaks is TBD.

Interesting article on this topic: READ HERE

LEARN MORE:

IS IT SAFE? Guidelines on what you eat, drink and how you clean during the COVID-19 pandemic: READ HERE

WHO TAKES THE LEAD? The President vs. Your Governor Vs. Your Mayor – Who’s Guidelines Do You Follow? READ HERE

by Jenna Lee,

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