Yet another wastewater surveillance study for SARS-CoV-2. Seems to be the hot topic these days. This is a great paper by Jordan Peccia and colleagues. They collected wastewater samples over the course of a couple months and saw how well those correlated with testing data and hospital admissions. Not only were the correlations extremely high, but wastewater was a leading indicator in both cases. This is the strongest argument to date of the important of this kind of surveillance. Abstract below:
We report a time course of SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in primary sewage sludge during the Spring COVID-19 outbreak in a northeastern U.S. metropolitan area. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in all environmental samples and, when adjusted for the time lag, the virus RNA concentrations were highly correlated with the COVID-19 epidemiological curve (R2=0.99) and local hospital admissions (R2=0.99). SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations were a seven-day leading indicator ahead of compiled COVID-19 testing data and led local hospital admissions data by three days. Decisions to implement or relax public health measures and restrictions require timely information on outbreak dynamics in a community.