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U.S. Sewer Data Warns of a New Bump in Covid Cases After Lull

Data from wastewater can spot a rise in infections before it shows up through positive tests

A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 test at a drive-thru testing site in Sumter, South Carolina on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

A healthcare worker administers a Covid-19 test at a drive-thru testing site in Sumter, South Carolina on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022.

Photographer: Micah Green/Bloomberg

A wastewater network that monitors for Covid-19 trends is warning that cases are once again rising in many parts of the U.S., according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data by Bloomberg. 

More than a third of the CDC’s wastewater sample sites across the U.S. showed rising Covid-19 trends in the period ending March 1 to March 10, though reported cases have stayed near a recent low. The number of sites with rising signals of Covid-19 cases is nearly twice what it was during the Feb. 1 to Feb. 10 period, when the wave of omicron-variant cases was fading rapidly.