Palo Alto-area COVID cases plummet from early January peak | January 21, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 21, 2022

Palo Alto-area COVID cases plummet from early January peak

Wastewater monitoring detects viruses from tested and untested people

by Jocelyn Dong

A measure of Palo Alto area COVID-19 infections is showing that case numbers have already dropped by half from their peak earlier this month, meaning that the omicron wave is showing some signs of subsiding.

This story contains 357 words.

Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.

If you are already a member, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Membership starts at $12 per month and may be cancelled at any time.

Log in     Join

Email Editor Jocelyn Dong at


Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2022 at 5:25 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

This is good news. We should say, this is headline news. In fact we should be very pleased about this. Unfortunately, the gloom and doom brigade still want us to be fearful.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 17, 2022 at 11:33 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

Bystander, this is not about "the gloom and doom brigade." This is about following the evolving science, wherever it may lead. Today's decline in wastewater prevalence may only be a temporary trough in a rollercoaster track, the entirety of which we cannot (and will not) see.

It will take years for virologists, molecular biologists, epidemiologists, and every other flavor of coronavirus expert to crunch the data and come up with even preliminary conclusions as to what this all means in terms of human and animal health.

Emerging pathogens are always and ever just that: Emerging.

Viruses are not even living: They are bundles of DNA or RNA (this one is an RNA virus) encased in a protein coat called a capsid. They replicate by invading living cells and hijacking their machinery to reproduce themselves. They then burst forth from the living cell, destroying it in the process, and seek new cells to invade and destroy, and the process continues.

This is not political or emotional. This is a virus. Period.

Posted by Aletheia
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 17, 2022 at 3:24 pm

Aletheia is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by EmmaP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 17, 2022 at 3:51 pm

EmmaP is a registered user.

The waste water testing is an indication that things in this area are heading in the right direction. Ideally it will be followed by a decrease in hospitalization. However I note that the most recent test shows an slight upward tick for Palo Alto and that Gilroy, after going down from a peak around Jan 6, is now rapidly going up again. Hopeful but we aren't finished yet.

Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jan 17, 2022 at 5:14 pm

vmshadle is a registered user.

Aletheia, I am a scientist explaining the science, not espousing doom and gloom. Where do you spot emotional valence in my response?

EmmaP has the right idea. Calling me names, on the other hand, accomplishes what, exactly?

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.