How the coronavirus spread in the U.S.

Health officials in U.S. have learned that despite doing "everything right" the virus is so contagious that it has managed to go under the radar.

    2020/03/11

NSFW    SEATTLE — The spread of the Wuhan coronavirus has medical authorities around the world scrambling to develop efficient ways to detect and contain the pandemic.

Health officials in U.S. have learned that despite doing "everything right" the virus is so contagious that it has managed to go under the radar. This is how the virus entered and spread in U.S.

According to Bloomberg, Patient Zero arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from Wuhan, China on January 15. During his time there he took public transportation at the airport.

On January 19, he checked himself into a clinic after experiencing a fever and cough. He was admitted, tested for the virus and sent home to self-quarantine. Results of the test came back positive the next day and Patient Zero was then admitted into a special biocontainment ward at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, Washington. This unit was originally developed for the Ebola virus. By February 21, Patient Zero had fully recovered.

However, an infected individual or individuals went undetected. Health experts researching the spread in Seattle believe that it was in the four-day window of time from January 15 to 19 that Patient Zero may have infected more people.

Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiology professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told Bloomberg that according to his estimates, for every dozen cases American officials caught, 20 to 25 went undetected.

The lack of efficient testing kits and testing criteria also exacerbated the spread of the novel coronavirus. Early testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were working well. However, by mid-February, testing results were coming back inconclusive due to manufacturing issues.

Faulty testing criteria also affected early and efficient detection. Early on, only patients with mild symptoms who had come in contact with a potentially infected person or had traveled to Wuhan themselves. This means that individuals who did not fit these criteria who carried the coronavirus were not tested.
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