US Wastewater Data Hint At Rising COVID Cases

March 17, 2022   |   Tags:
US Wastewater Data Hint At Rising COVID Cases

America's best early detection system for COVID is once again flashing a warning that cases are rising once again as the US continues to treat the pandemic like ancient history.

According to Bloomberg, a wastewater network that monitors for COVID trends is warning that cases are once again rising in many parts of the US, according to a CDC analysis of the data.

More than one-third of the CDC’s wastewater sample sites across the U.S. showed rising COVID trends in the period ending March 1 to March 10, though reported cases have stayed near a recent low. The number of sites with rising signals of COVID cases is nearly twice what it was during the Feb. 1 to Feb. 10 period, when the wave of omicron-variant cases was fading rapidly.

Whether this increase will precipitate another surge in cases, or be remembered as a bump on the road to defeating COVID, remains unclear.

Warmer weather in the US is allowing people to spend more time outside, and the natural and vaccine-induced immunity in the population should act as a natural bulwark against reinfection.

"While wastewater levels are generally very low across the board, we are seeing an uptick of sites reporting an increase," Amy Kirby, the head of the CDC’s wastewater monitoring program, said in an email to Bloomberg. "These bumps may simply reflect minor increases from very low levels to still low levels. Some communities though may be starting to see an increase in Covid-19 infections, as prevention strategies in many states have changed in recent weeks."

Bloomberg also had an opportunity to analyze the CDC's wastewater data from more than 530 sewage monitoring sites. Most of the data reported during the 10-day window from March 1 to March 10.

Of these sites, 59% showed falling COVID trends, 5% were roughly stable, but 36% were increasing. Rises or declines are measured over a 15-day period.

Source: Bloomberg

So far, the warning provided by the sewer networks hasn't shown up in case numbers and the number of patients being hospitalized for COVID is still near recent lows.

Source: Bloomberg

According to the CDC's latest community levels rating, 98% of the US is in places with a "low" community level rating. Those ratings, however, are based on case numbers and hospitalizations.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/17/2022 - 20:05