Outbreaks of illness attributed to the coronavirus weren’t widely documented until the spring, however, new reports suggest that the virus could have been in the United States as early as December. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously reported that the virus first hit the country in late January, but researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, believe otherwise.
The study was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and found that there was a significant increase in clinic and hospital visits by patients who reported respiratory illnesses the week of December 22nd, 2019. These patients all went to the ER with respiratory complaints, and many others were hospitalized with acute respiratory failure between December 2019 and February 2020. It’s important to note that these hospitalizations could have all been flu related as well, however, the spike in visits is substantial when compared to previous years, so it’s not to be taken lightly.
Currently, universities and schools across the country are coping with the inevitable spikes in outbreaks that have already been occuring. So far 50,000 coronavirus cases have been reported at various colleges and universities in all 50 states. Many universities are opting for required 14-day quarantine periods for all infected students.
The University of Arizona and the Colorado University of Boulder have both implemented these quarantine measures. Arizona specifically is urging all of its students to remain indoors and isolated until the end of the month based on how many new cases they’re seeing. They saw 261 new cases appear on campus this year alone.
Many have also heard about the wedding in Maine that has now led to 176 new Covid-19 cases and seven deaths. The seven people who died weren’t even at the wedding itself, but contracted it through individuals who were in attendance. The story is now being widely used as an example of just how badly this virus can impact individuals who were doing everything right in their lockdown procedures, but it still wasn’t enough due to others irresponsibility.
While authorities and government officials have “strongly encouraged” the health and safety measures created to prevent situations like the Maine wedding from occurring, the fact is these measures are rarely enforced. This is why America has one of the highest infection/death rates in the world. CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah recently spoke with the media about this wedding and gatherings in general in the US.
“The virus favors gatherings, it does not distinguish between happy events like a wedding celebration. That event is now linked to outbreaks more than 100 miles away from the venue, and among people who had only secondary or tertiary contact with an attendee.”
Some officials and industries have been adjusting and preparing for a coronavirus-altered way of life to return to some semblance of normalcy, while others are preparing for the worst; a second wave.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.