Health Care

Study sheds light on how early coronavirus started circulating in U.S.

Study sheds light on how early coronavirus started circulating in U.S.”

"These findings also highlight the value of blood donations as a source for conducting SARS-CoV-2 surveillance studies", the report states.

There were COVID-19 infections in the early as mid-December 2019, weeks before it was first identified in China and a month earlier than the first case was reported in the US on January 19, according to a new study by the country's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The coronavirus pandemic may have started earlier than previously thought, according to scientists from the CDC.

"The findings of this report suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognised", the paper said.

A study published on Monday by agency researchers identified 106 infections among 7,389 archived blood samples drawn from individuals in nine different states between December 13, 2019, and January 17, 2020.

Specifically, 2% of results collected from California, Oregon and Washington (39 out of 1,912 samples collected from those areas) between December 13 and December 16, 2019 confirmed the presence of the virus.

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The coronavirus may have been circulating in the United States last December, well before the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed on January 19, a new analysis of donated blood suggests.

The World Health Organization was alerted to the novel coronavirus by officials in Wuhan, China on December 31, 2019.

The CDC study indicated there were isolated infections in the western part of the mid-December. A patient in France was found to have contracted the virus after being hospitalised with flu-like symptoms at the end of December, contradicting official statistics showing Covid-19 reached the country from people returning from Wuhan at the end of January. Of these, 106 samples tested positive for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2: 39 in California, and 67 in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. But due to China's misleading reports in the early stages of the pandemic, many have suspected that the virus was likely present in the US long before the beginning of the year.

The first COVID-19 infection in the United States was reported on January 19, 2020 in a returned traveler from China, two days after domestic testing was initiated, according to the CDC.

They also noted it wasn't possible to determine the magnitude of infections on a state or national level based on the samples, or whether the cases were locally transmitted or travel-related.

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