Surveillance updates: Short-term wastewater contract, expanded traveler testing

Two quick updates about the CDC’s surveillance efforts for COVID-19 and other diseases: The CDC has provided a short-term wastewater surveillance contract to Verily, the biotech company that’s affiliated with Google, so that data collection can continue at about 400 sewage testing sites while a longer-term contract is in dispute. And the CDC is expanding its testing program for international travelers arriving at U.S. airports, in a three-month pilot program for the winter virus season.

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National numbers, November 5

After an early-fall lull in COVID-19 transmission, there are now signs that the coronavirus is starting to spread more as we head into winter (or, respiratory virus season). This slight uptick is expected, but could still be prevented if we had better public health measures in place.

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National numbers, October 29

Our mid-fall COVID-19 lull continues in the U.S., with major metrics showing plateaus in disease spread nationally. A disruption in wastewater surveillance may make it harder to follow these trends in the coming weeks.

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COVID source shout-out: Biobot’s dashboard is still sharing COVID-19 data

Two weeks ago I wrote an article explaining that the CDC has a new wastewater contract, essentially transferring responsibility for COVID-19 testing at hundreds of wastewater treatment plants across the country from Biobot Analytics to a company called Verily, which is affiliated with Google. In the time since that post, I have seen some other articles and social media posts alleging that, thanks to the contract change, Biobot will no longer be posting any COVID-19 data on their dashboard. This is inaccurate! 

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National numbers, October 22

Major metrics suggest the U.S. is still in a lull of COVID-19 spread, as we’ve seen decreases in wastewater levels and test positivity for several weeks. Transmission is still high, though, and it seems likely that cold weather will drive up COVID-19 as well as other respiratory viruses in the coming weeks.

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National numbers, October 15

COVID-19 data signals point to a continued lull in transmission across the U.S., ahead of likely increases as the weather gets colder. The Northeast is still reporting higher COVID-19 levels than other regions, according to wastewater and test positivity data.

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The CDC has a new wastewater surveillance contract; here’s what this means for public data sources

This week, the CDC and life sciences company Verily announced that the agency awarded a five-year wastewater surveillance contract to Verily. The announcement marks a shift in the U.S. sewage monitoring landscape and will impact our public COVID-19 data, with short-term gaps and changing coverage in a couple of sources—but ultimate improvements in the long term.

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National numbers, October 8

After a couple of weeks’ decline, COVID-19 spread in the U.S. may be leveling off ahead of more increases in late fall and winter. We’re seeing plateaus in wastewater data, paired with slight declines in test positivity and hospital indicators.

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National numbers, October 1

During the most recent week of data available (September 17-23), the U.S. reported about 19,100 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals, according to the CDC. This amounts to: Additionally, the U.S. reported: COVID-19 spread is on the decline nationally, following a trend from the last couple of weeks. But levels are still very high, and […]

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