The study published on Monday identified 106 infections from 7,389 blood samples collected from donors in nine US states between December 13 and January 17. The samples, collected by the American Red Cross, were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing to detect if there were antibodies against the virus. “The findings of this report suggest that SARSCoV-2 infections may have been present in the US in December 2019, earlier than previously recognised,” the paper said.
Reports of a mysterious pneumonia spreading in Wuhan, China, first emerged in late December 2019. The first US case was reported on January
19. The revelations in the paper by researchers from the CDC reinforce the growing understanding that the coronavirus was silently circulating worldwide earlier than known, and could re-ignite debate over the origins of the pandemic. It’s not the first evidence showing the virus could have existed outside China before 2020. A patient in France was found to have contracted the virus at the end of December.