Coronavirus may have spread in US earlier than first thought


Chad Davis

Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks on March 6th, 2020 as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads throughout the United States. Photo: Chad Davis (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A health official from the US state of California says coronavirus may have been spreading in the east coast state as early as the 6th of February.

Previously, it was thought that the state of Washington saw the first death on US soil from the pandemic, on the last day of February this year.

The Californian county of Santa Clara has told Reuters that early deaths from COVID-19 were likely to have been mistaken for deaths from influenza.

The United States has overtaken Italy as the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country’s coronavirus deaths topped 45,000 this week, as confirmed cases climbed to more than 800,000.

The US government fears that the number of deaths will spike to somewhere between 100,00 and 240,000 before the virus begins to be contained.

It’s injected 2.3 trillion dollars into coronavirus research and supplies, to try and stop the spread of COVID-19.

US President Donald Trump previously stated that if his administration can keep the number of deaths in the US between 100 thousand and 200 thousand, his COVID-19 taskforce has “done well”.

He is being criticised for this estimate, with Charles Idelson of National Nurses United comparing Mr Trump to a mass murderer in a popular tweet.

“There really are no words for this level of insensitivity and inhumanity; a serial killer would be jealous,” Mr Idelson tweeted.

Meanwhile others are finding relief in the fact that the US President is finally recognising that COVID-19 is a serious problem.

Prior to today, Mr Trump had downplayed the severity of the virus, tweeting statistics that compared the common flu and other medical conditions with what he claimed were higher death tolls than COVID-19.

While many are criticising Mr Trump for his comments, the US President has lashed out at authorities in New York, which has been the hardest hit American state with more than 20 thousand deaths.

Mr Trump has questioned New York’s storage of protective masks and other equipment, suggesting that there is something not right about how the products are being handled and that the state’s supply figures don’t add up.

But New York’s government wasn’t the only target of Mr Trump’s attacks.

He has consistently gone on to target journalists, saying that they aren’t being positive enough about his administration’s handling of the disease.