CDC adds wastewater surveillance to COVID-19 data tracking

The CDC on Feb. 4 added U.S. wastewater data to it's COVID-19 data tracker website.  

The new dashboard will be updated daily and allows users to enter their state and county to see how virus levels in wastewater have changed in the last 14 days. The agency is currently funding wastewater surveillance in 37 states, four cities and two territories, though data coverage is currently limited. More than 250 jurisdictions are currently reporting data, though most are concentrated in a handful of states. 

Amy Kirby, PhD, the program lead for the National Wastewater Surveillance System, in a Feb. 3 media update said the agency plans to add an additional 250 sites over the next few weeks. 

"These data are uniquely powerful because they capture the presence of infections from people with and without symptoms, and they're not affected by access to healthcare or availability of clinical testing," Dr. Kirby said. "The real power of this program will be more evident in the coming weeks when hundreds more testing sites will begin submitting data." 

Scientists in different parts of the country have monitored wastewater throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to gauge how prevalent SARS-CoV-2 is in certain communities, as infected individuals shed virus in their feces and may do so before they test positive. However, these efforts have been sporadic, and the launch of the CDC's data aims to advance wastewater surveillance on a national scale. 

The dashboard is part of the CDC's National Wastewater Surveillance System, which was created in September 2020. 

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