Minnesota Now Detecting COVID in this Gross Thing
Science. It's the thing that shows us what we need to know and how to proceed with most things in this world. One of which is sickness. And what better way to detect what is happening with our bodies (population as a whole) than to check people's waste. Yep, I'm talking about poop.
Minnesota's wastewater is being checked for COVID. Seriously, who wouldn't want this job?
Wastewater has been used to predict the next wave of COVID, and how rampant the virus still is. The thing that they can't tell, is what demographic is the most suceptible right now. Is it the older people? Kids? Teens and young adults? Middle aged people? Actually, you can check that, but that takes a lot more work, and it's tough to figure out definitively with the thing you're working with is wastewater when everything is mixed together. This is gross.
According to KARE 11, the University of Minnesota has been working on this since the pandemic began, and has been able to predict the surge of COVID cases and now includes the Delta variant.
"In terms of measuring the virus in wastewater, we're not seeing a downturn," said Dr. Tim Schacker, vice dean of research for the University of Minnesota Medical School. "It has not come down at all. In fact, it's at the highest level we've ever seen it."
The more difficult part of this is that the difference is that most of these people are probably asymptomatic. They have no idea they are sick. This is where the vaccine comes into play, that if people are vaccinated, and they are actually carrying the virus, they may not have symptoms. Many breakthrough cases are like that, some are not, obviously. But if more people are vaccinated, even if you are unknowingly sick with the virus, it is less probable for you or others to become severely sick.
They're (vaccinated people) not going to have as many symptoms and they can be shedding (the virus). So I think, what we're seeing is just a shift in the way the pandemic is playing out."
Time will tell how this does play out as we head into the Winter months when it's more common for people to get sick in general with things like the common cold.
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