Autopsies performed in California on suspicious deaths dating back to February reveal that these people have been infected by the new coronavirus before the official start of the epidemic Covid-19 in the United States.
The first confirmed case was announced by federal authorities on 21 January, a thirty-year income by 15 January of the area of Wuhan, China, who did not have severe symptoms and had even contacted a doctor.
The discovery, late, as people started to die in the beginning of February means that there were probably many cases on the west coast of the united States as early as January, or even early January, and that the official assessment of current 45, 000 deaths is below the reality.
The balance sheet for the beginning of the year, should, in all logic, climb, as and to the extent that local officials and forensic doctors recatégorisent causes of death in the winter attributed to the time of the pneumonia or flu.
The medical examiner of Santa Clara county, which includes Silicon Valley, has announced on Tuesday evening that three people died in the 6 and 17 February and 6 march, had, after the autopsies, tested positive for the coronavirus.
Since several weeks (of the order of three to four) usually separate the contamination of death, this is go back to the beginning or middle of the month of January these contagions. The first dead official of the coronavirus in the United States dating back to before the 26th of February.
“If this is indeed the case, the patterns of the epidemic in the United States will need to be adjusted to take into account this departure date advanced,” says the professor of medicine at Stanford university Jay Bhattacharya. “The models are going to have to revise upwards the number of current cases “, he told AFP.
The three cases in california, which are of unknown identity, had apparently not traveled in China, said Sara Cody, head of public health of the county, to the Washington Post.
Arrival in December ?
It is unknown why it took so much time to test these body, but local officials have pointed the finger at the Centres for prevention and disease control (CDC), who have until the end of February urged to limit testing to only those coming from China and with symptoms.
It was only in February that the testing policy has been relaxed, and in mid-march that the valves were actually open.
The veil is gradually being lifted, a posteriori, on the arrival of the coronavirus in America.
The epidemic began in December in Wuhan, but this is not the January 31 that the United States have closed their border with China and began to impose quarantines.
During the month of January, the most senior officials from CDC have assured that the risk remained ” low ” for Americans. They were then convinced that the contagion was limited to the case returning from China, that they believed they were able to contain it with measures of surveillance targeted. But this method left to escape the people who are contagious but asymptomatic.
Other indicators of an early arrival of the coronavirus come from genetic analysis.
Two teams of geneticists in New York have determined that the virus had started to spread in the metropolis of the East coast in mid-February, from Europe — while in the first case, local confirmed it had been announced that on the 1st of march, in a woman returned home from Iran.
They know it because the virus is replicating, mutates, like all viruses. The analysis of the genomes of viruses recovered in march in New York helped reconstruct a family tree of the coronavirus, because the mutations occur at regular intervals.
The leaders californians expect to find other cases of past Covid-19. The head of the county of Santa Clara, Jeff Smith, said recently that Sars-Cov-2 was without doubt reached in December on its shores.