As Massachusetts coronavirus cases reach record levels, wastewater data surges to all-time highs

Dec 7, 2020

As coronavirus cases reach single-day record levels in Massachusetts, the amount of coronavirus traces in Boston-area sewage samples have surged to all-time highs.

Results in the past week from Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s study to track wastewater indicators of COVID-19 show the highest amounts of viral RNA since the pandemic arrived in the state — significantly higher levels than during the spring surge.

“It’s really striking,” Dr. David Rosman, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, said on Sunday, adding that the graph showing the COVID-19 wastewater results is “scary looking.”

“Seeing how much COVID is in the wastewater is an indication that there’s substantially higher levels of the virus than in March and April,” he said.

The wastewater samples — taken three times a week at the Deer Island Treatment Plant — in March and April eclipsed 500 viral RNA copies per milliliter, with some days surpassing 700 copies per millileter.

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