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J Environ Manage ; 309: 114728, 2022 May 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1683294


Real-time evaluation of the fighting activities during a sudden unknown disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic is a critical challenge for control. This study demonstrates that the temporal variations of effluents from hospital sewage treatment facilities can be used as an effective indicator for such evaluation. Taking a typical infection-suffering city in China as an example, we found that there was an obvious decrease in effluent ammonia and COD concentrations in line with the start of city lockdown, and its temporal variations well indicated the major events happened during the pandemic control. Notably, the lagging period between the change point of effluent residual chlorine and the change points of COD and ammonia concentration coincided with a period in which there was a deficiency in local medical resources. In addition, the diurnal behavior of effluents from designated hospitals has varied significantly at different stages of the pandemic development. The effluent ammonia peaks shifted from daytime to nighttime after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting a high workload of the designated hospitals in fighting the rapidly emerging pandemic. This work well demonstrates the necessary for data integration at the wastewater-medical service nexus and highlights an unusual role of the effluents from hospital sewage treatment facilities in revealing the status of fighting the pandemic, which helps to control the pandemic.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Sewage