COVID-19 present in US earlier than originally thought: CDC
'These findings highlight the value of blood donations.'
New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that COVID-19 was detected in the U.S. last December.
While President Donald Trump claims the potentially deadly virus originated in China, the study published on Monday identified COVID-19 antibodies in 106 of the 7,389 blood donations to the Red Cross across nine states, The Hill reports.
Donations collected between Dec. 13, 2019 and Jan. 17, 2020 were submitted to the CDC for testing. Antibodies were found in 39 samples from West Coast states, including Washington, Oregon and California, all of them collected between Dec. 13 and 16.
Antibodies were also discovered in 67 blood samples collected between Dec. 30, 2019 and Jan. 17, 2020, in Midwest and East Coast states like Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
COVID-19-antibodies were reportedly detected in eighty-four out of the 90 samples tested.
“The findings of this report suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized,” the researchers wrote. “These findings also highlight the value of blood donations as a source for conducting SARS-CoV-2 surveillance,” they added.
Similar measures were employed when scientists screened and monitored the Zika virus epidemic.
“CDC is continuing to work with federal and non-governmental partners to conduct ongoing surveillance using blood donations and clinical laboratory samples for SARS-CoV-2 infection in multiple sites across the U.S.,” the researchers wrote.
As theGrio previously reported, Trump has labelled COVID-19 the “China Virus” to distance any responsiblity that his administration mishandled the outbreak. In March, he took to Twitter and noted that the federal government would support numerous industries who are suffering as a result of the coronavirus.
“The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before!” Trump tweeted.
Chinese officials condemned his tweet, incredulous that he keeps bringing up China as the United States also struggles to contain the virus and the federal government fails to lead.
“The U.S. should first take care of its own matters,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, according to NBC News.
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