UCSD scientists fear wastewater coronavirus readings could mean regional COVID surge around New Year’s

Dec 20, 2021

If our toilets are any indication, San Diego County may be in for a sharp spike in coronavirus cases soon.

UC San Diego officials warned this weekend that samples from the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, which processes flushed waste from two of every three area residents, showed the highest levels of the coronavirus that the university has seen since February. Both the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus are fueling the rise, they said.

Researchers have consistently found that when viral levels go up in wastewater, cases usually increase within a couple of weeks, putting the region on track for a surge around the start of 2022. That has scientists and public health officials again urging the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, the immunized to return for boosters and everyone to think hard before attending large and unmasked indoor gatherings.

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