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What Happens in Las Vegas May Not Matter

February 25, 2023 • 3:20 pm CST
by Jose Aitor Pons Buigues
(Coronavirus Today)

A new study conducted in Las Vegas suggests that when testing for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, the results may actually overestimate the virus's local health risks.

The findings from an Original Investigation suggest the continual influx of tourists in vacation destinations may distort clinical testing relevance.

While wastewater surveillance is a valuable complement to clinical tools and can provide time-sensitive data for decision-makers and policymakers, this study represents a novel approach to quantifying the confounding effects of mobile populations on wastewater surveillance data.

Furthermore, the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater does not indicate infectivity, so while a significant viral load may be contributed by visitors (>60% in this study), this does not necessarily prove that visitors are a significant contributor to local COVID-19 transmission. 

Researchers from the University of Nevada collaborated with the Southern Nevada Water Authority on the study published by the JAMA Network Open on February 23, 2023.

Note: This study's conclusions may apply to other tourist destinations such as Paris, Miami, New York, London. and Tokyo.