A new research model suggests that the coronavirus was spreading silently in U.S. cities for months — perhaps as early as January, according to CNN.
The model, which was developed by the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University, suggests that by March 1, there may have been as many as 28,000 infections in large cities across the country. On March 1, there were only 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.
The New York Times reports that the researchers used what was known about the virus at a given time and estimated spread based on the typical movement of people — whether cross-country travel or a daily commute. The model then estimates spread, based and takes into account government action, such as the closure of schools or non-essential businesses.
The Times report comes the same week that officials in California said that autopsies of two people revealed they had c ontracted COVID-19 before they died in February. Those officials said that neither of the deceased nor those close to them had a history of travel to China — meaning the virus was spreading through the community much earlier than originally known.
The first death in the U.S. linked to the coronavirus was originally thought to have occurred on Feb. 29, at a nursing home in Washington. The two California deaths occurred on Feb. 7 and