The latest analysis suggests the novel coronavirus had reached Los Angeles in last year’s December, even way before the unusual outbreaks were noticed in China’s, city Wuhan. It appears the virus had traveled to the United States before it was even discovered by the World Health Organization.
The analysis comes from the hospitals of UCLA and neighboring clinics, data from the medical records suggest LA might have been unaware of the dangerous virus in its midst.
UCLA researchers and colleagues from the University of Washington recorded a worrying surge in patients that showed up to hospitals complaining about coughing. This supposed increase took place at the start of December 22 of last year and lived well into the entire month of February.
Outpatient facilities treated a portion of such cases while others ended up in emergency units. There were even those that got hospitalized at UCLA’s Medical Center or to other facilities run by UCLA.
If you look at the official recognition of the coronavirus in the states, the United States, CDC believed the first case appeared in the middle of January. This apparent first case was of a traveler who had just arrived from Wuhan into the state of Washington, once on American soil, the man tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Researchers on the study however suggest that by this time alone several dozens of coronavirus patients might have been treated by the doctors at UCLA. Yet even by this time, the virus was not named until 3 weeks passed by.
The authors on the study say they didn’t carry out diagnostic testing to find when exactly the health care workers interacted with the lethal virus but they know that the illness had been circulating since Christmas. They described the pattern they studied from the data provided by UCLA in the study and published it in Medical Internet Research, which is a medical journal.
Dr. Joann Elmore led the study team, She is a professor at UCLA as well as an internist. He believes the rising number of patients during the mentioned time is an indicator suggesting the virus had indeed been circulating in the community before the country developed capabilities to test and acquired clinical awareness.
After viewing data involving patients whose complaints included that of coughs, they realized the number was more than the average of the past 5 years and the worst of the last five winters, the researchers explained.
Elmore and her team think it is likely for a disease like a coronavirus to have been present before the nation began its extensive testing and learned how to recognize the virus clinically.
By dissecting numbers from one week to the next the researchers found that the frequency of coughing patients filing into clinics the last winter had been more than those they compared them with. Their data suggested that the severity of respiratory illnesses had increased significantly.
Some patients among the recorded numbers might’ve been patients suffering from the novel coronavirus which means the transmission through Los Angeles, for the most part, might’ve been silent and a surprise to most.
UCLA’s research team believes reading into the current pandemic will prepare us to be better at predicting and providing quick warnings if there is ever another pandemic. This data therefore will be of use for times to come as well as the now.