StatNews reproduction article
Align America thoughts: It seems CDC has begun its efforts to revise history and state they were on top of the issue from the beginning. Reality from our perspective, government agencies will not protect us, but we be there in time to do the paperwork, form committees, task forces and report results much later. Like too many bureaucrats, only act when 100% certain so as to protect your professional reputation, career and standing. Given the enormous funding and responsibility of organizations like CDC, WHO and NIH, they missed the virus entrance into USA, it’s infection rate, it’s mortality rate especially in seniors and the worst mistake, not having United States models of the disease. They used an UK Imperial model that overstated initial 3-month deaths at 2.5 million cases and 250,000 dead.
If CDC and NIH are our experts, where have they shown their expertise and modeling in leading the USA, not second guessing. It appears they are fact collectors, researchers of events and not able, or willing, to lead. Private industry, research labs and drug companies have manufactured ventilators, PPEs, masks and rapidly work for treatments, cure and vaccines. FDA, CDC and NIH had regulations which slowed or delayed each until regulatory cuts were enforced. Please note (Highlights in RED by Align America) Align America does not endorse nor verify the information and it is solely the opinion of the author.
When did the coronavirus start spreading in the U.S.? Likely in January, CDC analysis suggests
A transmission electron micrograph of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, isolated from a patient. Researchers at the CDC released a new analysis Friday suggesting local transmission of the virus in the U.S. took place in January.NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES/NIH
How early did local transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus begin in the United States? For the second time this week, scientists have proposed a new estimate. This one, from scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests that transmission likely began in late January or early February on the West Coast and that the virus spread undetected for more than a month. Scientists from the agency, and research groups they collaborate with, concluded community transmission in the U.S. began with a single unidentified imported case from China.
Kristian Andersen, an expert in viral genomes from Scripps Research, said the new study underscores that early chains of transmission were missed in the United States, which as a consequence lost an opportunity to prevent spread of the virus from taking root here.
The CDC team drew on multiple streams of data, including retrospective testing of nearly 11,000 samples collected through CDC-led influenza surveillance networks.
If Covid-19 cases were being mistaken for flu in the early days of the outbreak, one would have expected to have seen some positive tests among those samples. But the first that was positive was collected from a patient in Washington state on Feb. 25 — two days before authorities in California reported finding an infection in a woman who had not traveled outside the country and who was not a known contact of people who returned to the U.S. infected with the virus.
CDC Director Robert Redfield pointed to the work as evidence that the agency — which has been savaged for the early failure of a Covid-19 test that left the country with limited capacity to look for the virus in the early weeks of the outbreak — had always been alert to the virus’ movements in the United States.
“We were never blind when it came to surveillance for Coronavirus 19,” he told reporters during a briefing on the new findings, published Friday in the CDC’s online journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review. “The reality is the surveillance systems that CDC had developed over the years for respiratory viral diseases, particularly influenza-like illness, really did give us eyes on this disease as it began to emerge.”
Redfield’s statement seemed to ignore the fact that the flu surveillance samples were not tested for Covid-19 in real time, when they might have helped public health departments track and halt spread of the new virus.
“That’s a preposterous statement,” Andersen told STAT. “It’s a sad fact that the United States missed the boat on getting adequate testing set up early enough to be able to stop the virus in its tracks — it’s likely one of several reasons we have by far the most cases of any country in the world.”
As of Friday, the U.S. has recorded more than 102,000 deaths — 28% of the global total.
The CDC findings challenge to a degree those released earlier this week in a preprint article from Michael Worobey, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. Preprint articles have not yet undergone the normal peer-review process at a scientific journal.
Worobey and colleagues argued that the person who started the first chain of transmission to take root in the country — in Washington state — entered the U.S. around mid-February, either from Asia directly, or via British Columbia, Canada.
Their estimate, based on analysis of genetic sequences of viruses retrieved from infected people, in turn challenged work from Trevor Bedford, a computational biologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, that suggested the Washington state outbreak began with the first Covid-19 case diagnosed in the country, a man who returned from China on Jan. 15.
But the CDC scientists came to a different conclusion after analyzing data from four sources: genetic sequences; retrospective testing of stored influenza surveillance samples; a review of emergency room records from counties that had early cases of Covid-19; and the retrospective discovery of two people in California who died from Covid-19 in early and mid-January, and an infected cruise ship crew member who departed from San Francisco on Feb. 11. Public health officials only later realized those individuals had been infected with the virus.
The combination of those data sources led the CDC team to conclude community transmission in the U.S. began in late January or early February. Worobey estimated local transmission began in the U.S. in Washington state around Feb. 13, though it could have been as early as Feb. 7 or as late as Feb. 19.
“The take-home message from the northern California thing seems to be that yes, there definitely were early cases and some early community transmission, but when you just fast forward a little bit in time, none of it seems to have established itself into a sustained transmission cluster like you see in Washington or later in New York,” Worobey told STAT.
One of the authors of the CDC study, Greg Armstrong, said the agency’s scientists disagreed with how firm the two earlier estimates were in assessing when transmission began in the United States. “We thought there was a considerable amount of uncertainty still, given how few data were available,” said Armstrong, who is CDC’s deputy incident manager for the response.
The estimates of when the virus actually started transmitting in the U.S. could change again, Armstrong said, noting pathologists continue to investigate suspicious deaths from early in the year and to send samples to the CDC for analysis. “It is quite possible we will find additional cases in the future,” he said.
About the Author Helen Branswell
Senior Writer, Infectious Disease. Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development.
Align America does not endorse nor verify the information and it is solely the opinion of the author.
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