Covid-19 may have silently attacked the US for a long time

Health worker Malika Abdulkhsanova explained how to test for nCoV in Brooklyn, New York, last week. Photo: NYTimes.
Health worker Malika Abdulkhsanova explained how to test for nCoV in Brooklyn, New York, last week. Photo: NYTimes.

A mysterious disease has led to nearly 30 customer service staff in Chicago simultaneously developed symptoms of dry cough and high fever in January.

Even after returning to work after the sick leave, nearly 30 employees at the same center on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, looked very pale and tired.

“I started to think it was Covid-19. I most likely got it but I was not sure. It was not certain,” said Julie Parks, 63, one of the sick employees at the time, worried. to speak.

A new study by scientists at Northeastern University in Massachusetts just published in NYTimes reveals Covid-19 may have been spreading in the US since early February, weeks before the US reported its first case on January 1. / 3. The team believes that outbreaks have been quietly spread across cities like Chicago, New York, Seattle and Boston between January and February. Even so, the Northeastern University model estimates the number of nCoV infections in The US as of March 1 is about 28,000, 1,000 times more than the reported 23 cases.

This information made more Americans more grounded in the possibility that they were thinking: Am I infected with nCoV?

The work of tracing infections in this period is taking place on many levels. Those who have experienced miserable illnesses with flu-like symptoms are now wondering if it is Covid-19. The doctor also reviewed strange and unexplained cases. The coroner also searched records to look for deaths that might have been misdiagnosed. Local officials requested that investigations be made on this issue.

Brian Gustafson, a coroner in Rock Island County, Illinois, said he was unable to perform the nCoV test for the dead, but was convinced that many cases and deaths from Covid-19 were ignored. in the US for weeks earlier this year, when officials believed the virus had not yet appeared in the country.

Gustafson said he himself was one of the missing Covid-19 cases. Gustafson believes he was infected with nCoV in January, when he felt that his body was really tired and exhausted. Even if he had to put all his remaining strength to drag from the bedroom to the bathroom, the situation rarely happened to him.

“I think nCoV appeared here long before we knew it,” said Gustafson, who is also a medical staff. He believes he was infected with nCoV from one of the dead who was taken to the forensics room long before Illinois looked for positive cases. “That is the only logical reasoning I can think of,” Gustafson added.

Some people spend a lot of time at home reviewing their illness when they suspect that it is most likely due to Covid-19. Tommie Swenson and girlfriend Tammy Swikert, living in Rothschild, Wisconsin, keep thinking that the disease they had suffered in the winter spread throughout this 5,000-people village.

Swenson, a retired truck driver, said the disease was completely unlike flu. It caused him to lose his taste, sleeplessness, coughing and feeling like something was heavy on his chest.

“We always talk about it. What if the disease we had was Covid-19? Can we now be immune to it or be reinfected? What does that mean?”, Swenson wondered.

Experts on infectious diseases say that the answer is very complicated. Many believe that the number of people exposed to nCoV can be 5-20 times the number of positive cases reported and more and more data support this claim.

Health workers are inventorying Covid-19 samples at Bergen Community College, New Jersey, this month. Photo: NYTimes.
Health workers are inventorying Covid-19 samples at Bergen Community College, New Jersey, this month. Photo: NYTimes.

Recently, the US has licensed a blood test to detect nCoV antibodies, to help identify people infected with the virus but have no symptoms due to the body’s immunity to this virus. However, even if this method becomes more common, experts say it is difficult to know how long antibody carriers can be immune to nCoV.

In addition to wanting to know a person’s status, it’s important to know how many people are infected in a community because it involves community immunity. A person infected with the virus is expected to infect two or three people so the virus should stop spreading, at least 50% of the population must be infected.

“In terms of decision making, we have nowhere else with community immunity,” said Natalie Dean, an associate professor of biological statistics at the University of Floria.

In New York City, about 21% of supermarket visitors tested positive for antibodies, said governor Andrew M. Cuomo on April 23. If this ratio proves true for the whole city, it means that about 1.7 million people will be infected with nCoV, 12 times the reported number.

But experts say that in California, the number of infected people appears to be lower than 5% and many other places have recorded lower numbers of cases and deaths. Express is available.

Experts say that more time is needed to develop, test and distribute reliable antibody tests, and to understand their importance when it comes to individual immunity.

A woman wearing a mask goes outside the Santa Clara County forensic examination office, April 22. Photo: NYTimes.
A woman wearing a mask goes outside the Santa Clara County forensic examination office, April 22. Photo: NYTimes.

January and February deaths are also being checked again after a notice this week in Santa Clara County, California, that a woman died on February 6 infected with nCoV. This death occurred weeks before the first case of nCoV death.

Dr. Michelle Jorden of Santa Clara County forensic examination office said the agency also investigated many other deaths. They have sent samples of suspected cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing and are awaiting results.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has asked the investigation team to carefully review the forensic examinations records from December last year of some counties, to determine whether the deaths in this period were due to Covid-19. is not.

Experts say it is difficult to distinguish between seasonal flu and Covid-19 from previous cases. Dr. Jeffrey V. Smith, Santa Clara County executive and medical doctor, said his wife, who is also a doctor, said it was difficult to understand the patients she met in the San Bay area. Francisco in December.

“I remember she said that in December, some patients who came to the hospital had flu-like symptoms but tested negative for the disease. I wondered if those patients were infected with nCoV.” “Said Smith.

Many experts say the scarce testing and strict CDC regulatory regulations in February have led to many unanswered questions today.

“It was a period of silent and uncomfortable silence. We heard about people who were infected, but they did not meet the testing standards so we could not do anything,” Sara Cody, director The medical director harmed Santa Clara, said.

Dave Cortese, a member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, asked for a complete list of deaths in the county from January to March, the period during which he said it had recorded more deaths. compared to the same time last year.

“I am calling the county to make double efforts to publish information on all Covid-19 deaths and to link the data together to bring a completely honest analysis of the information we have. yes, “said Mr. Cortese.

For those with loved ones who are ill, they always get hurt with the question “Is that Covid-19?”. The Ian Carrier family, 36, in San Francisco, tried to understand the disease that caused him to be hospitalized on Christmas Day with a high fever and severe coughing. He was hospitalized for two months, had intubation and mechanical ventilation.

April Slone, Carrier’s sister, said he had had a serious health problem for a long time but the doctors could not explain his condition. Carrier has tested negative for influenza test.

“Every day there is a new disease. We can’t figure it out,” Slone said.

Later, Slone read the link between Covid-19 and kidney disease, problems that Carrier began to encounter. “That’s when I understood the problem. I called my parents and said ‘I think Carrier has Covid-19 already.’ My parents said ‘We think so,'” Slone said.

This week, Carrier has to enter U.C.S.F Hospital. Parnassus because of complications from kidney problems. They are looking for ways for Carrier to be tested for antibodies and hope the doctor can know if he had nCoV in December, although it’s not sure if the test will be available.

Hospital spokeswoman Kristen Bole declined to comment on Carrier’s case, but said antibody testing was primarily used to improve the diagnosis for patients with current symptoms, or who have Intending to donate plasma or participate in vaccine testing.

In Oakland, California, Kevin F. Adler said he was wondering about the death of his 97-year-old grandfather, Jason Adler, on February 2. The nursing home director once described him as having died from respiratory problems, according to Adler.

Days after his death, Adler said another person who lived in the same nursing home died, while Adler family members developed symptoms of sore throat and fever. The Adler family is worried about this.

“It is important to understand how a disease like Covid-19 can affect our communities, especially vulnerable groups, before the nation knows what happens. “My family is just one case. But there are probably hundreds of families out there like us,” Adler said.


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