San Jose, C.A. – A person who died at home in Santa Clara County in California on February 6 was infected with the coronavirus. The new details come amid a discovery from the autopsy of the individual. This would place the coronavirus timeline in the US at least 3 weeks earlier than previously thought.
Initial reports were that the first death occurred in Washington State on February 29. Officials suggest this person was likely infected sometime in January. This would be before any cases had been reported outside China.
Now, some officials are calling to go back into December and January to start investigating when the initial cases may have occurred. In the end, this confirms the suspicions of many that the virus was here long before we initially thought.
I have maintained that same perspective throughout this event. China is a huge business hub for many US based businesses. Back when the decision was made to restrict travel to China, many large businesses were cited in reports. So until that time in February, regular travel was being conducted in and out of China. We also know from previous research that there were many who left Wuhan before the lockdown was placed.
Direct flights from Wuhan to San Francisco and Los Angeles were running regularly before the lockdown was placed and travel restricted. Thousands would have entered the country from China after the outbreak started. Now we are left trying to determine just when the coronavirus pandemic started in the US.
Recent research from Stanford University and others would also support the narrative that the virus was here earlier. According to Stanford’s research, the number of infected people in California could be up to 55 times higher than previously thought. Similar studies found the same results in Germany and the Netherlands.
Another study out of Santa Clara County also found similar results. According to these results, up to 85 times more people have been infected than previously thought.
So where do we go from here? I don’t think we can immediately open the economy and expect everyone can go back to work. We are still learning information, but I do think there is sufficient evidence to support that the virus is not as deadly as initially thought.
I think the evidence would also support lifting the lockdown for some of the lower risk groups and letting businesses start opening. While common sense measures of cleaning and social distancing are practical, American needs to get back to some form of normal.
Additional research into the antibody testing are underway. One-third of those tested in a small Boston event showed exposure. We still have a lot to learn, but it certainly looks like this virus may have spread far beyond our initial thoughts. We may be back to normal operations sooner than later.
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