Wastewater Covid Levels Drop, Offering Hopes Of A Receding Wave

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : January 19, 2022

The hope that the new variant Omicron is slowing down is coming from an unexpected source. According to the latest research done on wastewater in the country, it was found that coronavirus levels have started to decline in wastewater in several regions. This offers the hope that we have already passed the worst phase of the Omicron variant.

Wastewater Covid Levels Drop, Offering Hopes Of A Receding Wave

Even though this is an unconventional method to study Coronavirus, health experts say that it is important to monitor the levels of Coronavirus in wastewater on a regular basis. This gives an idea about the extent of infection caused in the community.

Wastewater Covid Levels Drop, Offering Hopes Of A Receding Wave

It is not possible to test every person in a particular community for the infection. In this situation, there is no clear way to know if any person is infected or not when they do not have any symptoms.

In such cases, experts resort to testing the levels of Coronavirus in the wastewater samples from the community. This can give a rough indication of the extent to which the virus has penetrated into the community.

However, mass testing and other methods are still the most accurate ways to know the spread of the virus in any community. When testing is done, it can give accurate data about the number of cases in any region. In this way, the caseload can be analyzed easily with this method.

However, it is not an easy task to test a large number of people in a short duration of time. Due to these constraints, scientists always look out for the presence of viruses in the wastewater samples of the community. In this way, what is missing from the regular testing methods will be found by analyzing the wastewater samples.

Experts think that this is important as regular caseload data provides information about those who got tested and reported the infection. On the other hand, wastewater samples provide data about the entire population in that particular region.

The method used to analyze wastewater samples is similar to how Covid testing is done for an individual. The nasal swab from an individual is analyzed for the presence of the virus. Similarly, researchers look for the virus cells in the wastewater as our body eliminates some of the viruses on a regular basis. The virus is dead by the time it reaches wastewater.

Scientists are still working hard to improve the system of testing wastewater as people shed viruses differently when they are infected with Covid 19. The shedding differs even between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients in some cases. All these things have to be understood in a detailed manner to develop a reliable model in the future.

As of now, the study is happening in big cities as it is easy to collect wastewater sample data from treatment plants. This can be used as an early warning system during a pandemic. In the initial days of any pandemic, there may be less access to testing kits.

In this situation, it is not possible to understand the extent of infection in any community. However, studying the wastewater samples can give some indication about how far the virus has spread within the community.

The recent data from a few wastewater treatment plants in big cities has shown that there has been a decline in the virus levels since a few days.

This may be considered as an early indicator that Omicron is finally slowing down in the US. Considering the outcome of this data, experts are hopeful that this will reflect in the lower case numbers in the near future.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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