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What stays in Vegas: Tourist sewage may inflate community COVID prevalence

While SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance is a valuable way to measure disease prevalence and predict surges, a new study conducted in Las Vegas suggests that the tool may overestimate the true viral burden in areas with large influxes of tourists or commuters.

University of Nevada researchers worked with the Southern Nevada Water Authority on the study, which was published yesterday in JAMA Network Open.

The team analyzed and genomically sequenced samples from seven Las Vegas water treatment plant locations that serve southern Nevada and one manhole on the south Las Vegas Strip from March 2020 to February 2022. Treatment plants 2 to 7 serve location populations, while plant 1 serves a mix of locals and visitors, and the manhole represents mainly visitor waste.

The aim was to determine the relative influence of the nearly 1 million weekly visitors to Las Vegas, a city of 2.3 million residents, on levels of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant in wastewater from Dec 13 to 20, 2021.

Over 60% of viral load from visitors
Omicron BA.1 was detected in the Las Vegas Strip manhole on Dec 7, about 1 week before it was found at the treatment plant locations and clinically confirmed, and rapidly displaced the Delta variant. On Dec 13, Omicron made up an average of 48.0% of all SARS-CoV-2 genomes from manhole samples and 4.1% of the genomes at treatment plans 2 and 3, rising to 82.0% and 48.0%, respectively, on Dec 20.

The researchers estimated that visitors contributed over 60% of the SARS-CoV-2 load to Strip sewers and that the prevalence of Omicron among the visitors was 40% to 60% on Dec 13, climbing to 80% to 100% on Dec 20.

By late 2021, the estimated undercount of COVID-19 cases for facility 1 was 14.0 per 100,000 people, compared with 4.2 and 4.5 for facilities 2 and 3, respectively. Omicron-specific mutations overtook Delta at the Las Vegas Strip manhole and facility 1 faster than at facilities 2 to 7.

The prevalence of Omicron among the visitors was 40% to 60% on Dec 13, climbing to 80% to 100% on Dec 20.
«We hypothesized that with tourism returning to prepandemic levels, visitors started contributing a disproportionate fraction of SARS-CoV-2 RNA to facility 1, and in early December 2021, these visitors were more likely to be infected with the Omicron VOC than the local population,» the authors wrote.

After subtracting facility 1’s viral load by 60% (ie, estimate for visitor contributions), the relative viral loads for facilities 1 to 3 were more aligned with each other and with the total sewershed. The estimated COVID-19 case undercount for facility 1 (average, 5.4 per 100,000 people) was also closer to that of facilities 2 and 3.

«Without this adjustment, the wastewater-derived infection estimate for this sewershed would be nearly 3-fold higher, leading to a highly inaccurate overall infection estimate for southern Nevada,» the researchers wrote.

After adjustment, the mean (SD) estimated undercount for Facilities 1 to 3 was 4.6, higher than the 3.4 calculated earlier in the pandemic. «This might be attributable to fewer individuals with infection seeking clinical testing, in part due to greater availability of at-home rapid antigen tests,» the researchers wrote.

Using the adjusted viral load for facility 1 and a method for estimating COVID-19 incidence throughout southern Nevada, an estimated 476,000 local residents, or about 20% of the population, had COVID-19 in January 2022. But only 94,427 infections were confirmed for the seven sewersheds in this period, for an estimated undercount of 5.0 per 100,000 people.

Sewage surveillance complements clinical tools
When Nevada officials issued stay-at-home orders in response to the pandemic in March 2020, closing all Las Vegas Strip hotels and casinos, wastewater flows into the sewers fell by roughly 15%, the researchers noted. «Studies show that mobile populations can have a significant impact on wastewater flow rateand contaminant loading, particularly during special events and on holidays and weekends,» they wrote.

Wastewater surveillance is an important complement to clinical tools that can provide time-sensitive data for decision- and policy-makers, according to the authors: «This study represents a novel approach for quantifying the confounding effects of mobile populations on wastewater surveillance data, thereby allowing for modification of an existing WBE [wastewater-based epidemiology] framework for estimating COVID-19 incidence in southern Nevada.»

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Tattoo Artist, Entrepreneur, and Oil Painter Kirby van Beek Makes a Mark in the Industry

Kirby van Beek, a talented tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and oil painter, has emerged as a prominent figure in the world of tattooing, showcasing his expertise in black and grey realism. Known for his distinctive designs and captivating portraits with a dark twist, Kirby has established himself as a highly regarded artist, earning recognition both locally and internationally.

Kirby’s journey as a tattoo artist began at the age of 18 when he taught himself the art form while simultaneously pursuing his education in forensic science. During this time, he displayed unparalleled dedication, working at a morgue during the week and honing his tattooing skills during weekends and spare hours. Kirby’s passion for tattooing led him to work at various tattoo studios in the Netherlands, solidifying his experience and expertise in the field.

About Kirby van Beek:

Kirby van Beek is a talented tattoo artist, entrepreneur, and oil painter based in [City]. Renowned for his expertise in black and grey realism, Kirby’s distinctive designs and captivating portraits with a dark twist have earned him a prominent position in the industry. With a passion for tattooing and oil painting, Kirby aspires to become a globally recognized artist, leaving a lasting impact on the world of art.

«The things I love most about tattooing is meeting different clients and getting to know them on a personal level during a long tattoo session,» says Kirby. «There is nothing more rewarding than tattooing individuals who appreciate my art so much that they choose to wear it on their skin for life.»

Specializing in realistic black and grey tattoos, portrait tattoos, and horror tattoos, Kirby’s work has garnered attention both nationally and internationally. His talents have been showcased at several tattoo conventions abroad, and his captivating designs have been featured in prominent tattoo magazines. Additionally, he has been recognized by esteemed publications such as LINDA magazine in the Netherlands and the local newspaper BN de Stem. Furthermore, Kirby’s exceptional skills led him to participate as a tattoo artist in the Dutch version of MTV’s Just Tattoo of Us.

Looking ahead, Kirby aspires to become a world-renowned tattoo artist and oil painter, with a particular focus on portrait tattoos and dark horror tattoos.

His ultimate goal is to reach clients and famous individuals around the globe, sharing his unique artistry and leaving an indelible mark on the industry. In the future, Kirby envisions opening an art show to showcase his diverse body of work.

To learn more about Kirby van Beek and explore his captivating portfolio, visit his official Instagram page (@kirbyvanbeek) or his website

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DJ Khenya Takes Center Stage at Blue Marlin Ibiza, Spreading Joy and Connection

The music of DJ Khenya pulsates with rhythm and emotion. A rich mélange of sun-kissed sounds that blend percussive beats with indie and deep house. The artist’s journey to Ibiza has laid the foundation for a musical expression that communicates joy and connectivity. Taking the reins at Blue Marlin Ibiza, Khenya’s vibrations will inspire dance floor dreamers to move and let go.

From the stage at Blue Marlin Ibiza, DJ Khenya has shared experiences alongside some of the most influential names in the music industry. When asked about the impact of these experiences, the artist responded humbly: «The truth is I feel lucky. I have total admiration for them as they are a source of inspiration for me.»

The energy at Blue Marlin Ibiza is unlike any other, according to DJ Khenya. He describes the place as «a life experience,» synonymous with summer and with all the ingredients to feel in a state of bliss when you’re there. He thanks the team for being like a family to him and for everything they’ve done.

This summer, DJ Khenya will take his audience on a journey filled with unforgettable emotions. He comments, «My goal is to transmit uplifting and unforgettable sensations. My audience is what sets my heart on fire, and I want them to feel my desire to make them dance.»

The path that led DJ Khenya to become a DJ began in Havacia, Cuba, where he grew up in an environment where rhythm, dance, and poetry are like the air we breathe. With son and salsa running through his veins, his first experience at an electronic music party in the early 2000s marked a shift in his life. Khenya recalls hearing ‘The Underground’ by Celeda and says, «It was a different Cuba, and I loved it. I think from that moment, something changed inside me. A seed had been planted, and life would take me in that direction.»

Having traveled the world and now based in Ibiza, DJ Khenya reflects on how these experiences have shaped his identity as an artist. He comments, «Traveling the world is a privilege that every human being should have, especially an artist because when you have these experiences, you can understand different ways of life and the musicality of each place. Creativity is born from that knowledge, and I still have a lot to learn in that sense.»

This summer, DJ Khenya promises to take Blue Marlin Ibiza to new heights with his unique music and his desire to make everyone dance. The experience is guaranteed to be a celebration of life, joy, and connection through music.

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Oliver Rouz: Weaving Ink and Inspiration into a Legacy

Born on February 13th, 1988, Oliver Rouz’s path to success is one marked by determination, passion, and the pursuit of creative endeavors. From a young age, Oliver exhibited a profound love for various forms of creativity, which ultimately led him to become one of the country’s most celebrated tattoo artists.

During his school years, Oliver’s artistic talent set him apart. His favorite cartoon characters became his canvas as he tirelessly recreated them in his own style. However, drawing was merely a pastime during his teenage years, a source of pleasure until music took center stage in his life.

In 2005, Oliver formed the «Fairy Tale Jelissa Rose» band, a pivotal moment that expanded his horizons. Immersed in the music community, he developed a newfound fascination with tattoos and ink artistry, spurred by the band’s association with the tattoo culture.

A serendipitous encounter with Artem at the «Quick Silver» shop in Moscow in 2010 marked a turning point. Artem’s influence led Oliver to consider a life-altering decision. By 2012, Oliver, now ignited by a passion for tattoos, made a bold move to another city, all while nurturing his tattoo aspirations.

Artem’s transformation into a tattoo artist himself inspired Oliver further. As fate would have it, an opportunity arose in 2012 for them to collaborate and open their tattoo studio in Moscow. This venture required Oliver’s dedicated efforts, alongside his commitment to saving funds to fuel their creative endeavor.

Oliver’s tattooing prowess flourished within a year, prompting a return to his hometown to establish several home-like studios. Yet, he recognized that true growth beckoned him back to Moscow. Thus, in 2017, he joined Good Hands Tattoo, laying the foundation for his continued ascent.

Oliver’s indomitable spirit and devotion to his craft bore fruit, as evidenced by his stint at Black Point studio, born out of a collective dream. His trajectory exemplifies the power of dedication, leading him to become a recognized tattoo luminary within the nation.

Oliver’s journey, however, extends beyond tattooing. From his early affinity for music, highlighted by the formation of his punk rock band at 14, to his involvement in the music industry and flirtation with global recognition, his story embodies the resilience required to navigate creative industries.

A pivotal moment arrived in 2021 when Oliver, undeterred by previous setbacks, chose to channel his creative energy into designing game art. Leaving behind a stable job, he invested his savings of around $5,000 to embark on a transformative journey. Guided by Hexeth’s interview and tutorials, Oliver delved into the realm of game design.

Fueled by dedication and a newfound purpose, Oliver’s creative expression culminated in designing elements for popular games like CS:GO and RUST. Through unwavering commitment and rigorous self-education, he harnessed the potential of his artistic flair.

Today, Oliver Rouz’s name resonates as a testament to the potential of human determination. His path from a young artist with a penchant for creation to a revered tattoo and game artist serves as an inspiration to countless dreamers. Oliver’s legacy continues to evolve, as he pushes the boundaries of his craft and inspires others to chase their passions unrelentingly.

For more information and to view Oliver’s work, visit his Instagram profile: @oliverrouz.

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