Photo: Getty Images

Coronavirus wastewater level still high


The fourth wave of the pandemic is unabated. The coronavirus concentration in the wastewater of Gothenburg remains high in long-term retrospect, and a slight upturn is noted in the latest weekly measurement from the University.

The fourth wave has been underway since mid-December. In 15 weekly measurements, SARS-CoV-2 in Gothenburg wastewater has stayed at levels corresponding to the peaks of previous pandemic waves or higher.

Heléne Norder, Institute of Biomedicine, Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg.
Photo: Elin Lindström

“We see that the virus is still fluctuating at a high level,” says Heléne Norder, adjunct professor at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, and microbiologist at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

A slight upturn

The latest measurements show a slight upturn. The results and analyses are based on samples taken in the week of 28 March to 3 April.

Coronavirus concentrations in wastewater are evidence of the presence of the virus and COVID-19 in the community. The correlation between virus in the wastewater and the proportion of local inhabitants who are severely ill has, however, successively declined as vaccination coverage has become stronger. In Sweden since April 1st, COVID-19 has no longer been classified as a threat to public health and a danger to society.

Other viruses studied

Besides SARS-CoV-2, concentrations of norovirus GG2 (the ”winter vomiting bug”) are also measured by the Gothenburg scientists. The latest results show that levels have now declined for the second consecutive week. The peak of the season was noted in samples taken in the week of March 14th to 20th.

Levels of enterovirus are still at high levels. The peak of the enterovirus concentration of the season was found in the sample from the week of March 21st to 27th. Enterovirus can cause a wide spectrum of symptoms, from those of the common cold to inflammation of the pericardium, meningitis and paralysis. However, the majority of the infected get mild symptoms.