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Covid-19 Study

  • The Biobot Network has been instrumental in creating Biobot's National Wastewater Dashboard, which provides reliable, up-to-date data at a glance for trends in Covid-19 (and its variants) across the country.
    • Currently, The Biobot Network dashboard includes county-level data from 186 locations across 108 counties in 41 states representing 32.3 million people. The anonymized national data includes 248 locations representing 37.8 million people.

  • Our epidemiology team presents "Epi Fast Facts" each week, which gives a national and regional breakdown of the latest Covid-19 trends we observe in our data. We are set to release another round of facts soon this week, but here is the link to last week's tweet, as well as the copy (which speaks to some of your question about trends):
    • "As of Mar 30, 2022, our nationwide #wastewater #data has risen, increasing across all regions—however WW concentrations remain low.  From Mar 23 to Mar 30—Biobot’s national wastewater average increased by 25% (~143 c/mL), which is ~30x lower than levels seen at the peak of Omicron & 3.7x higher than those seen at the trough of the pandemic (May 2021). Regionally—the Northeast had the highest concentration at 224 c/mL & went up 24%(43 c/mL). The South rose 37%(34 c/mL), the Midwest rose 14% & the West had the lowest concentration at 93 c/mL & rose 9%."

  • Regarding how our data can be used at the community-level, feel free to check out our Applications of Wastewater Data Customer Resource page to see how wastewater surveillance has been used throughout the country.

  • For questions about interpreting trends for your specific county, our Analyzing Trends page might be helpful. Here is the direct link to Middlesex County's data on our dashboard.

  • "Does numbers mean anything in terms of the number of people impacted? How successful is correlation with health data?":
    • Our dataset––drawn from treatment plants in large and small communities nationwide––shows a consistent correlation between wastewater concentrations and confirmed new COVID-19 cases reported on state and even county levels. For example, our sampling locations' wastewater data accurately reflected both localized peaks in COVID-19 cases last summer (2020), as well as the nationwide surges in late fall 2020, mid-summer 2021, and winter 2021 (spurred by the Delta and Omicron variants). This was drawn from our FAQ, which is a helpful resource to direct people to.

  • Wastewater data can also be a “leading indicator” of Covid-19 infection rates because infected individuals shed the SARS-CoV-2 virus in their stool upon infection and often before symptoms surface (see image attached). Our blog post here describes how wastewater monitoring was an early indicator of Covid-19 cases during the Omicron surge. Here is an excerpt:
    • “So while Omicron resulted in the most clinical cases reported, these differences contributed to the large gap we saw between the peak number of clinical cases (~3x higher than last winter) and the peak viral concentrations in wastewater (7-8x higher than last winter),” Lead Epidemiologist Scott Olesen, PhD explains. In other words, there was far more undercounting during the Omicron wave than during the Alpha or Delta surges. Wastewater data was therefore a better estimate of total infections, offering an accurate and reliable way to understand the spread and activity of SARS-CoV-2, independent of clinical reporting.

    Wastewater Monitoring Leading Indicator.png