Earlier this year, genetics analysis experts say in a recent study, the United States lost out on an early opportunity to capture imported coronavirus cases.
Their analysis of the virus imported by the first guy identified to have transmitted the infection to the US — back in January in Washington State — shows that it was probably not the source of the later cases there.
So that patient presented the federal government with a great chance to avoid more imports, said University of Arizona evolutionary biologist Michael Worobey so colleagues.
“Our analyzes show a prolonged duration of lost opportunity while extensive monitoring and touch surveillance may have stopped the establishment of SARS-CoV-2 in the US and Europe,” they wrote in a paper not yet peer-reviewed and released on the bioRxiv preprint list.
The story about the patient has been widely spreading. He landed on 15 January at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport before the safety tests began at US airports.
When the 30-year-old man began to feel symptoms, he recalled warnings about the virus from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And contacted local health officials. They isolated him quickly. State health officials in Washington began the contact tracing process. Which is considered the key to containing the spread of infectious disease.
“Everything seems to have worked the way we wanted it to”. Joel Wertheim said. He has been working on the analysis at the University of California , San Diego.
But as more incidents showed up in the state at the end of February with no ties to new passengers. People decided to name the guy “patient zero.”
Genetic analysis indicated that the virus that infected him was very similar to the other viruses. Viruses later made people ill. Health authorities couldn’t work out whether many people could have been contaminated by the guy but the facts were strong.
Yet Worobey and colleagues say the data turns out not so straightforward.