- The new coronavirus began to spread in the United States. USA Even earlier than previously believed, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- The COVID-19 community broadcast may have already occurred in January, several weeks before the original official estimate.
- The study demonstrates the authorities’ failure to find patients with coronavirus and stop the spread of the disease at a time when the dangers surrounding COVID-19 were already known.
The new coronavirus began to spread in the United States in late January. We know that from the first diagnosed case it goes back to January 20. A recent report suggested that the first patient with COVID-19 in the US USA He may have been infected sometime in mid-December, several weeks before the first confirmed case. Similar research from Europe indicates that the virus could have reached the continent in mid-November, at a time when the world had no idea that a new virus was circulating. Later, autopsy results showed that one patient died of COVID-19 in California on February 6, three weeks before the first reported death of COVID-19 in the United States.
The CDC now says it found limited evidence of the early spread of COVID-19 within the United States in late January and early February. The agency says that until the end of February, “the incidence of COVID-19 was too low to be detected by emergency department syndromic surveillance for COVID-19-like illnesses.”
The CDC believes that a single, unidentified case imported from China could be responsible for the COVID-19 outbreak that started on the west coast. Others brought the disease from Europe.
The CDC retrospectively analyzed nearly 11,000 samples taken from patients suspected of having been infected with the flu. Of these, the first positive result of COVID-19 dates from February 25. That was two days before California authorities reported on community transmission in the state, as a woman who had not traveled outside of the country contracted the virus.
Once an infectious disease reaches the point of “community transmission,” authorities seeking to trace and isolate contacts cannot link new patients to a source. It is an indication that the broadcast may be out of control. Widespread testing campaigns and contact tracking can be used to contain the disease, and we’ve seen examples of such practices that work well in other countries, including South Korea, New Zealand, and more.
The CDC says it has never been blind to the arrival of COVID-19, although the agency’s overall response and initial test were criticized, as they led to uncontrolled transmission of the virus.
“We were never blind when it comes to surveillance for Coronavirus 19,” CDC Director Robert Redfield told reporters on Friday when the new CDC study came out. “The reality is that the surveillance systems that the CDC had developed over the years for viral respiratory diseases, particularly influenza-like illnesses, really gave us eyes on this disease when it started to emerge.”
Stat He notes that the director’s comments do not reflect the fact that the flu samples should have been analyzed in real time and provided real information that authorities could have used to try to contain or at least delay the spread. Kristian Andersen, a Scripps Research expert on viral genomes, said the new study underscores that the United States lost the first chains of transmission and missed the opportunity to take appropriate early action.
“That is an absurd statement,” said Andersen. Stat referring to Redfield’s comment. “It is a sad fact that the United States missed the boat by conducting the proper tests early enough to be able to stop the virus on its way; it is likely one of several reasons why we have by far the majority of cases from any country in the world. “
A separate University of Arizona study published preprinted this week in bioRXiv It says the sustained transmission of COVID-19 began in mid-February, a month after the first case was recorded in Washington state. Those early cases were contained, the study says, but containment was not possible with later ones.
“Our finding that the virus associated with the first known transmission network in the US did not enter the country until mid-February is sobering, as it shows that the window of opportunity to block sustained transmission of the virus extended to that time, ”the authors said.
The researchers analyzed genetic sequences from infected people and said that the patient who started the first chain of transmission came from Asia or Canada. The broadcast could have started as early as February 7 or as late as February 19. CDC researchers question the Arizona study, which in turn challenged different investigations that said the COVID-19 outbreak began in Washington with the first patient to return to China on January 15.
Whatever the case, this new CDC study makes it clear that community transmission of COVID-19 started much earlier than previously thought, and the disease was spreading undetected at a time when the world was already warned on the dangers of the new coronavirus.
The CDC cautions that estimates of transmission in the US USA They could still change because more suspicious flu deaths are still being investigated.