Is It Safe to Come Out of Lockdown? Check the Sewer

May 4, 2020

The world is eager to come out of lockdown. But if countries simply return to business as usual, new outbreaks of Covid-19 will follow. The only solution that public health experts see is to keep careful track of the coronavirus and clamp down on new flare-ups.

The trouble is that the most obvious way to monitor the virus — testing person by person — has already proved to be a huge, expensive challenge. Experts say we’re nowhere near the scale we need to get a good picture of the pandemic.

Now some scientists are looking for the virus not in our noses, blood or spit, but somewhere else: in our sewers.

“It’s the signature of a whole community,” said Krista Wigginton, an environmental engineer at the University of Michigan who has been finding the coronavirus in wastewater around the Bay Area in California.

Back To Top