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Wastewater Warning

Health officials in some parts of the US have spotted a concerning trend in SARS-CoV-2 among wastewater surveillance samples that could portend a new wave, the New York Times reports.

Wastewater surveillance has emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic as a tool to monitor SARS-CoV-2 levels in communities and provide an early warning of when a new surge may be beginning. According to the Times, such systems are giving off alarms in certain parts of the US like New Orleans and Houston.

"It looks like a surge in slow motion," Jennifer Avegno, head of the New Orleans health department, tells the Times, adding that it is "not the sharp increase we saw with Delta and definitely not with Omicron."

The Times notes that the warning from the wastewater system has enabled New Orleans to step up programs to provide masks and encourage vaccinations and boosters. Likewise, Houston Methodist Hospital's Scott Long adds at the Times that he hopes that these early signs of a wave encourage people to take more precautions.

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