Did the coronavirus start spreading in the United States before February?
A new study suggests that there are a large number of patients in the Los Angeles area who complained of cough and respiratory illness from late December 2019 to February, which raises the question of whether the new coronavirus made its way before the pandemic began here.
In fact, the study’s authors, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, suggest that coronavirus infections may have caused an increase in respiratory complaints.
“This is in line with a growing body of data suggesting that the community spread much earlier than we expected,”
- The researchers reviewed the reports of the outpatient and emergency departments. They found that the word “cough” had been used several times. They then made connections between these patients and those with respiratory failure.
- The increase began on December 22 and over the next 10 weeks.
- The number of people with these problems is 50% higher than predicted by experts.
- “A significantly higher number of patients with respiratory complaints and diseases, starting in late December 2019 and continuing in February 2020, suggests the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the community before the established opportunities for clinical awareness and testing,” says in the study.
Early reports of coronavirus
I first wrote about the new coronavirus on January 6th. At the time, several Chinese health officials were worried about a virus that had infected dozens of people. The reports were mostly outside Wuhan, China.
- In what looks wild now, Li Gang, director of the Wuhan Disease Prevention and Control Center, told local newspaper in China Changjiang Ribao that there is no evidence that the disease can spread from people to people, according to South China Morning. Post.
That said …
But the authors say there is no way to prove that the coronavirus has infected these patients beforehand. Other experts say it is difficult to prove whether there was an early arrival of the coronavirus, according to The Washington Post.
- “We may never really know if these redundant patients were early and undetected cases of COVID-19 in our area,” Elmore said, according to Fox News. “But the lessons learned from this pandemic, combined with health analyzes that allow real-time monitoring of diseases and symptoms, can potentially help us identify and track emerging outbreaks and future epidemics.”