The Wall Street Journal reported on November 30 that a government study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday showed that people in the United States were infected with the novel coronavirus in mid-December 2019, weeks before China officially confirmed the novel coronavirus, and the first case was found by the U.S. public health department. The confirmed cases in China are about a month earlier.
According to the study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, scientists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 106 of the 7,389 blood samples collected from nine states between December 13 last year and January 17 this year.
This new discovery shows that the novel coronavirus has spread all over the world long before public health departments and researchers realize it, which not only confirms the relevant evidence, but also subverts the initial understanding of when and where the virus appeared.
The West Coast of the United States was infected with the novel coronavirus last December.
In testing blood samples collected by the American Red Cross, CDC researchers found that 39 samples collected last year from California, Oregon and Washington from December 13 to December 16 contain antibodies to the novel coronavirus. The human immune system produces antibodies only when it comes into contact with pathogens consistent with or highly similar to viruses. This shows that as early as mid-December last year, there were sporadic cases of COVID-19 on the West Coast of the United States.
In addition, researchers also tested antibodies to the novel coronavirus in 67 blood samples collected from Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Connecticut and Rhode Island between December 30 last year and January 17 this year. This shows that the coronavirus infection in the United States had spread at the beginning of this year, but it is still sporadic cases.
Most blood samples contain COVID-19-specific antibodies
CDC researchers who participated in blood sample testing stressed that antibodies in blood samples are not antibodies produced by other coronaviruses such as the common cold virus, because blood samples contain COVID-19-specific antibodies.
According to the results of the study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States reported the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in December 2019 or had already appeared in the United States on January 19, 2020.
The study also believes that not only is the possibility that the novel coronavirus has existed in the United States since last year, but also that it has spread far more widely in the United States than the test shows.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of modeling estimates last week. According to their estimates, about 53 million people in the United States may have been infected with the novel coronavirus by the end of September this year. At the same time, the cumulative number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States was about 6.9 million, indicating that only about one in eight infected cases was diagnosed.
In France, a Parisian hospital also found COVID-19 during a retrospective analysis of blood samples from a patient admitted to the hospital on December 27, 2019.