NEW CASTLE COUNTY, Delaware -- Testing people may not be the best way to see how much coronavirus is in a community. Testing sewers may be better.
New Castle County, Delaware is analyzing its sewers in a high-tech way to track the amount of coronavirus in the county.
An analysis made by BioBot, a startup connected to MIT, estimates more than 15,000 COVID-19 infections as of April 15, 10 times what conventional tests confirmed.
BioBot looks for traces of the virus in wastewater.
The company was founded by female scientists at MIT.
New Castle County executive Matt Meyer says he's always in search of more data to tell him more about the presence of the coronavirus and better inform decisions to be made.
Meyer says the first reading was eye-opening.
"It's both a little scary to realize there's more there than we thought, but also a little hopeful because it may indicate there are a lot more antibodies than we realize," says Meyer.
"You can get tests from different substations. You can then say, 'OK, these are where our top three hotspots are, and we should focus our testing there,'" he adds.
BioBot's tests in Los Angeles County roughly aligned with what antibody tests showed.
New Castle County is doing weekly wastewater tests with BioBot.
Delaware sewers may hold better evidence on true spread of coronavirus