Virus Was Likely Circulating In U.S. In January, CDC Chief Says In Defending Agency’s Testing Response
“We were never really blind when it came to surveillance” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, adding that it would have been like “looking for a needle in a haystack.” Experts dismiss that defense of the agency's early testing response as "preposterous," saying Redfield's statement ignores that flu surveillance samples were not tested for COVID-19 in real time.
When Did The Coronavirus Start Spreading In The U.S.? Likely In January, CDC Analysis Suggests
How early did local transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus begin in the United States? For the second time this week, scientists have proposed a new estimate. This one, from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that transmission likely began in late January or early February on the West Coast and that the virus spread undetected for more than a month. (Branswell, 5/29)
The Washington Post:
CDC Chief Defends Failure To Spot Early Coronavirus Spread In U.S.
The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday defended the agency’s failure to find early spread of the coronavirus in the United States, noting that surveillance systems “kept eyes” on the disease.“ We were never really blind when it came to surveillance” for covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, CDC chief Robert R. Redfield said. Even if widespread diagnostic testing had been in place, it would have been like “looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said. (Sun and Achenbach, 5/29)
CDC Chief Says Coronavirus Testing Delay Didn't Hinder Response
The CDC has come under intense criticism for botching the rollout of testing for the new virus. The agency's first test was flawed, delaying the availability of wide-scale testing. Many public health experts said that delay squandered a crucial window of opportunity to keep the virus from spreading in the United States. (Stein, 5/29)
Coronavirus Started Spreading In The U.S. In January, CDC Says
"Information from these diverse data sources suggests that limited community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States occurred between the latter half of January and the beginning of February, following an importation of SARS-CoV-2 from China," the authors wrote. SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 illness. The virus then came into the U.S. from Europe, the CDC reported. "The findings do show that in late February, early March, there were several importations of the virus from Europe to California and northeastern United States and possibly elsewhere," Redfield said. (Edwards, 5/29)
Coronavirus Was Already Spreading In U.S. In January: Study
Genetic analysis of the early Washington state strains of coronavirus also indicate that they sprang from a common ancestor, estimated to have existed between mid-January to early February, the researchers reported. That sequence is consistent with the first known travel-related U.S. case of COVID-19, which occurred in a man who arrived in Seattle from Wuhan, China on Jan. 15, and fell ill four days later, the study authors noted.However, the contact tracing that public health officials conducted in that case was very thorough and the Seattle man did not wind up causing other documented cases of COVID-19, the researchers believe. (Thompson, 5/30)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio Health Department Identifies 13 Coronavirus Cases In 8 Counties From January
The Ohio Department of Health is now estimating a January onset of coronavirus symptoms for at least 13 cases in eight counties, evidence that the virus arrived earlier and more widely than originally could be confirmed. Two weeks ago, on May 11, Dr. Amy Acton, director of the health department, first discussed five cases the state had identified going back to January - moving the earliest estimates up by weeks and well ahead of the confirmation of the first cases on March 9. (Exner, 5/29)
How Many People Had The Coronavirus In January?
Of all the things we still don’t know about SARS-CoV-2—How far can it travel through the air? What treatments can tame it? How many people will it kill?—the number of people who might have been infected with the virus in January has held a special allure. A reliable estimate could help determine just how bad the United States’ botched early response to the pandemic was. We already know that the government failed to detect as many as 28,000 infections by March 1, so just how late to the game were we? (Gutman, 5/8)