The coronavirus was likely in the US before anyone knew it existed. It’s now hard to believe we ever assumed otherwise.

The coronavirus was likely in the US before anyone knew it existed. It’s now hard to believe we ever assumed otherwise.
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  • The coronavirus may have reached the US by late December, mounting evidence suggests.
  • Nearly 1 million passengers flew from mainland China to the US from November 17 to February 1.
  • Because the US did not initially test widely for COVID-19, epidemiologists don’t know how far the virus spread in early 2020. Outbreaks in major cities quickly got out of hand.
  • That head start allowed the virus to take root long before the CDC could detect it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On January 19, a 35-year-old man walked into an urgent care center in Snohomish County, Washington, with a cough and a fever. Four days earlier, he had returned from a trip to Wuhan, China.

A test revealed his diagnosis the next day: The US had its first case of COVID-19.

But he…



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