Last year scientists across the U.S. and around the world started collecting and analyzing sewage to track COVID-19 (see 1, 2). Despite reports of a steady decline in U.S. COVID cases and 50% of Americans now being vaccinated, taxpayer dollars are still being spent to test wastewater – maybe even in your neighborhood.
Americans are already under tremendous pressure to take the COVID vaccine (see 1, 2, 3). If wastewater tests reveal a spike in infections, it may lead to more restrictions, more testing, and more pressure to “take the shot” in North Carolina and elsewhere.
NC Monitoring Wastewater For COVID-19 Viral Particles
NORTH CAROLINA — As coronavirus testing begins to wane, North Carolina public health officials’ efforts to track COVID-19 in the state have now turning to poop. But in a productive way. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is testing wastewater samples at 11 treatment facilities around the state in a bid to measure shed viral particles found in the feces of those infected with COVID-19.
Data from the monitoring program, which began in January, is now available on the NC COVID-19 Dashboard.
As of May 11, for example, the state agency reported that COVID-19 virus in wastewater samples in Charlotte had plateaued.
“Wastewater monitoring is a new tool that will help us track the spread of COVID-19 in participating communities even as fewer people are being tested,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore said in a statement. “This can be an early warning system and allow health officials to take actions to stop the spread if trends are increasing.”
The North Carolina Wastewater Monitoring Network program is a collaboration between eight public health departments, the University of North Carolina and 11 wastewater utility facilities located in Charlotte, Greenville, Newport, Pittsboro, Raleigh, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, New Hanover County, South Durham, the Town of Beaufort and Wilmington City.
More from MSN:
Illinois to Test Wastewater for COVID-19 to Find ‘Early Warnings of a Potential Outbreak’
Illinois health officials have announced a new system that will test wastewater for COVID-19 and use those tests to find “early warnings of a potential outbreak on a county-by-county basis.”
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, “is detectable in human waste nearly from the onset of infection, while symptoms may not appear for three to five days.”
The department plans to implement a monitoring system for next year that will test wastewater in various counties for signs of the virus as well as for new variants that may emerge.
“Data generated through sampling wastewater will help public health officials better understand the extent of COVID-19 infections in communities,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “Wastewater testing has been used successfully in the past for early detection of diseases, such as polio. Measuring the virus levels in untreated wastewater can serve as an early indicator of increasing infections in a community and can inform our public health actions.”
IDPH and the Discovery Partners Institute say the program, which the health department is giving $5.5 million to, will begin in phases, starting with sampling and analysis in 10 Illinois counties. The program will then expand to 35 counties in mid-summer, and to all 102 Illinois counties by the end of the year, according to both groups.
The 10 initial counties include Carroll, Cass, Franklin, Fulton, Jefferson, Lawrence, Livingston, Macon, Montgomery, and Vermilion.
“Vaccine Hesitancy” is not exclusive to COVID shots. Vaccine side effects, injuries, deaths have been reported for decades (see 1, 2, 3). They continue to be being reported about COVID vaccines as well – including by celebrity recipients (see 1, 2).
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