A new study has indicated that COVID19 might have been spreading in the US much before the first outbreak of an unidentified virus in China. The study has been done by the experts at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Washington. China had informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) about the first outburst of an unknown outbreak later in January 2020. A team of nine scientists has looked at the data from electronic medical records in the health system of UCLA. They have compared the data from this winter to the last five years. They have found that there has been an increase in outpatients and emergency room visits with patients, who have complained of cough and an acute respiratory failure at the start of the week 22 December 2019.
Experts have said that from 22 December 2019 until the end of February there have been more than 1047 outpatient visits. Experts have said that there have been more than 514 emergency admissions and more than 387 hospitalizations as well, which is way more than their health model expectation. Experts say that it shows a community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 prior to the clinical awareness and testing aptitudes. However, the first case of COVID19 surfaced on January 21 in the United States, which was three weeks later when China first informed the WHO about the outbreak. At that time, the virus was termed as pneumonia of unknown cause.
A previous study has revealed that the first death due to the virus in the US has surfaced quite earlier on 6th February in Santa Clara County. Other studies have disclosed that the virus has been more widespread in the Bay area than what has been known previously. However, experts said that at that time there were no diagnostic tests available to determine the exact number of undiagnosed cases of COVID19 patients. That is the reason; experts have not been able to explain the spike in the data of COVID19 patients for the month of December. Asymptomatic transmission of the virus might be a possible reason for the excess patient encounter, as per the experts. Scientists have compared the data of the worse flu seasons of five years. They have found that there have been hundreds of more incidents of cough, which have been reported at the clinics, and emergency wards as compared to the last five worse flu seasons. Acute respiratory failure, which is a common symptom of COVID19, as well has increased as compared to the last five years. Experts have claimed that some of these patients might be associated with early COVID19 disease.