The CDC Has a Shiny New Tool for Tracking Covid With Your Poop

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One useful attribute of Covid, if there may be such a factor, is that those that change into contaminated shed the virus by way of their poop. Over the previous few years, public well being officers capitalized on this truth, and constructed a system to trace Covid ranges throughout the nation utilizing our sewage. Now, almost 4 years after the beginning of the pandemic, as charges in lots of states swing upward but once more, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a useful new tool for visualizing these traits.

With the company’s Covid wastewater dashboard, customers can chart historic, nationwide Covid traits, establish which variants are on the rise, and consider the states the place “viral activity levels” are highest, that means there could also be an elevated danger of an infection. (Today, for occasion, the degrees are significantly excessive in the Midwest.)

As I’ve reported, the CDC’s National Wastewater Surveillance System, or NWSS, has been round since September 2020. But as CDC advisor Niall Brennan put it, the federal government’s first wastewater information visualizations had been “underwhelming to say the least.” In placing the brand new dashboard collectively, he wrote on X, the CDC “willingly ripped up the rule book” to make the charts “more accessible to a wider audience.” 

Well-understood wastewater information, nonetheless, isn’t simply for curious nerds. It can even save lives. In March, I visited Houston, Texas—house to one of many nation’s best wastewater surveillance programs—to see how their native wastewater monitoring efforts labored. Here’s a little bit of my dispatch from the journey:

Could the Next Pandemic Be Prevented With Poop Water?Could the Next Pandemic Be Prevented With Poop Water?

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