🚨 POLL: Do You Blame China For the Virus Spread?
According to a report from the LA Times, a man was found dead in his home in early March.
Another woman got sick in mid-february died shortly after.
According to The LA Times, these early deaths indicate that coronavirus was around for quite some time before officials began to look dor it.
Dr. Jeff Smith, a physician, and chief executive of Santa Clara County government said, “The virus was freewheeling in our community and probably has been here for quite some time.”
Smith said during a press briefing that data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments said that coronavirus has been around “a lot longer than we first believed.”
“This wasn’t recognized because we were having a severe flu season,” Smith explained.
“Symptoms are very much like the flu. If you got a mild case of COVID, you didn’t really notice. You didn’t even go to the doctor. The doctor maybe didn’t even do it because they presumed it was the flu.”
Just a week before emergency testing was federally approved on February 4, Santa Clara County had it’s first two cases of the coronavirus. Both patients were travelers from Wuhan China, where the virus likely originated.
In January and February there was little to no testing for the virus in California.
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More from LA Times:
The CDC provided testing materials to only some health departments, with restrictions that confined testing and thus the tracking of the novel coronavirus to those who were sick or exposed to someone already known to have COVID-19. The federal agency’s focus was on cruise ships, with Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess carrying the largest known cluster of COVID-19 cases outside of China. The first passenger tested positive for COVID-19 five days after the ship’s Jan. 20 departure from Japan. Eventually, 712 passengers and crew tested positive, and nine of them died.
COVID-19 did not reappear in the Bay Area until Feb. 27, when doctors finally decided to test a hospitalized woman who had been ill for weeks. She became the region’s first case of community-spread coronavirus.
But from there, almost every positive test pointed toward local spread. “When public health [officials] tried to track down the start of the disease … we weren’t able to find, specifically, a contact,” Smith told county supervisors. “That means the virus is in the community already — not, as was suspected by the CDC, as only in China and being spread from contact with China.”
Researchers still unsure how long the virus lurked are now turning to blood banks and other repositories to see if lingering antibodies can show them what was missed. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health is looking for virus antibodies in samples from blood banks in Los Angeles, San Francisco and four other cities across the country.
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