The CDC has partnered with other federal agencies and states to develop a National Wastewater Surveillance System and pilot systems are underway in 31 states. This will be a valuable investment that will also be helpful in tracing other stool-borne pathogens, including influenza in the future. But this surveillance can and should be prioritized at the hyperlocal level to facilitate a safe return to college campuses, schools, and workplaces. A study from UC San Diego demonstrates that wastewater surveillance can detect Covid-19 in a single infected, asymptomatic person living or working in a multi-unit dwelling such as a college campus building. People infected with SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19, are known to shed in their stool and urine, even if they aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
Knight Lab, University of California