The mainstream media’s newfound obsession with public wastewater has officially reached a concerning point, as overworked editors search for new ways to keep fuelling the relentless COVID-19 fear machine. With a declining number of confirmed positive COVID-19 tests to report on, news outlets are obviously keen to keep attracting the number of article clicks they were getting back in the peak pandemic hysteria of mid-2020.

Which means they’re now attempting to fill that void with regular headlines announcing that some far-flung rural town or capital city has recorded traces of COVID-19 in its wastewater. For maximum clicks, the outlets often don’t reveal the name of the location in the headline, forcing frightened readers to click on the article and continue to feed the beast.

An anonymous insider from one such Melbourne-based news provider confirmed the new obsession, and hinted at a potential tipping point. The source said, “Every time we report on this stuff it just makes me think of the poor soul that has to conduct these tests. I mean, that would be so gross. Then, the other day, we had a bit of a slow news day and our chief editor suggested one of the journos should drive down to Werribee to conduct our own test. You know, just to see if we could get a positive result and make a story out of it. I’m sorry, but that’s asking too much. He said he was only joking, but there was this distant look in his eye that suggested he wasn’t entirely joking. I’m a bit worried.”