We have many coronavirus questions. Are the answers in our sewers?

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How many Canadians have the novel coronavirus? How many have it and aren’t showing symptoms? How big a problem is this, anyway?

Without testing far more widely than we’ve been able to do so far, it’s hard to know.

But across the world, scientists are asking if the answers to these questions are flowing under our feet, in the sewers.

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In Europe and the United States, scientists have been able to learn more about the spread of coronavirus in communities by looking for the virus in samples of untreated sewage.

In Massachusetts in late March, for example, scientists argued that sewage data showed that coronavirus infections were significantly higher than tests of individuals seemed to show.

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“If you’re looking for genetic information, DNA and RNA, we all shed that in our poop,” says University of Toronto epidemiologist David Fisman. “Our cells are in there,


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