Covid Was Circulating In The US Weeks Before First Documented Infection, NIH Study Suggests
Jemima McEvoy[color=#737373]Forbes Staff[/color]BusinessI'm a British-born reporter covering breaking news for Forbes.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said Tuesday there is evidence Covid-19 was circulating in low levels across the United States as early as December 2019, bolstering prior research that suggests the virus entered the country weeks before the first documented infection.
1. In a study published in the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, NIH researchers said blood samples they had been testing as part of a broader research effort revealed cases of Covid-19 in five states in December 2019 and early 2020.
2. The infections in Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Massachusetts all came days or weeks before any cases were officially reported in those states.
3. For example, in Illinois, where the first previously recognized case of Covid-19 was reported on Jan. 24, the study found antibodies in a volunteer who gave blood on Jan. 7.
4. As antibodies typically take an average of two weeks to develop, this “suggests the virus may have been present in Illinois as early as December 24, 2019,” the study highlighted.
5. The previously identified first case of Covid-19 was identified in Washington state on Jan. 15.
6. The researchers found antibodies to coronavirus in the blood of at least nine people of the 24,000 tested as part of their study.
7. Notably, the study did not find positive test results in California, New York or Washington, the states considered to be the initial entry points for the virus.