Wastewater Testing may Prove to be the Canary in the Coal Mine
August 26th, 2020
Human beings express a peculiar physiological response to medical tests. While some are unphased by a trip to the doctor, most of us dread being prodded, poked, and lanced not to mention the nail-biting experience of waiting for results. These facts of life, combined with logistical delays, human error, and a confusing network of private/public health labs, can seriously impede Covid testing especially when it’s needed on a massive and national scale. In a novel approach to better understand the prevalence of Covid-19 in local communities, a number of municipalities across the US are actively testing wastewater for virus RNA markers. While this technological development represents one of many diagnostic tools the Nation’s toolbox, it’s value lies in its ability collect upstream data on “asymptomatic individuals” within a particular community and preemptively identify potential hotspots weeks before an outbreak.