Why Alaska’s sewage isn’t telling us more about COVID-19 in our communities

Dec 15, 2020

Since September, city workers have been collecting samples of Juneau’s sewage to test for the coronavirus.

It’s one version of a science experiment that a lot of cities are trying in Alaska and beyond. The hope is that these big picture snapshots of how much virus a community collectively flushes will show trends and better inform public health officials on their pandemic response.

But so far, the data in Alaska isn’t doing that. A lot of complicating variables may put some of these experiments on hold.

On Monday, a utilities engineer with the City and Borough of Juneau walked a Juneau Assembly committee through a version of this graph.

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