Not a waste: Why NJ's testing of sewage is key to identifying future waves of COVID
The first signs of the COVID pandemic's next wave — or even of the next pandemic — will likely come from the waste we flush down the toilet.
People infected with COVID shed virus in their feces. By analyzing regular samples from sewage treatment facilities, upticks in the amount of virus in a community — as well as the type of variants present — can be detected long before hospital emergency rooms fill up.
That's been the case in Bergen County, where academic researchers have been sampling wastewater from a treatment facility in Little Ferry since the first wave of the COVID pandemic in May 2020.