Covid and the UK variant: the sewage tells the truth

Presence of Covid in the population

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, already more than one year ago, we have measured the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the sewage of the cities Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam weekly. We link this underground data to the above-ground data (new COVID-19 reports and hospital admissions reported by the RIVM).

In the last analysis up to the beginning of April 2021, we see a gradual increase in recent weeks. In all three cities, values are still high, almost as high as during the first wave (March 2020).


Development of Covid mutations

Since early November 2020, we also measure the rise of the N501Y mutation (British variant (among others)) in Amsterdam and Utrecht.

In blue, the concentration of N501Y in sewage from Amsterdam (A) and Utrecht (B), compared with (in orange) the results of the surveillance (random over the Netherlands, data RIVM). The sewer data show that the mutation occurred earlier in Amsterdam than in Utrecht (and the Dutch ‘average’). The British variant accounts for ca 80% in both cities at the end of February 2021.