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Social media posts, studies suggest COVID-19 spread in US earlier than official date

With the exact timeline of early COVID-19 infections in the United States remaining mysterious, some Americans have claimed to have been infected earlier than December 2019, alongside several studies also reaching the same conclusion.

The U.S. officially confirmed its first COVID-19 case was reported in Seattle of Washington State on Jan 21, 2020. However, there have been posts on social network platforms saying the people had suffered from COVID-19-like symptoms much earlier, and the posts are being deleted.

Yuyuantantian, a Chinese media outlet, interviewed some of the users.

One of these people is a man who was working at a gas station in South Carolina when he had symptoms in 2019. The officially confirmed first case in this state was reported in March 2020.

In early October of 2019, the man began to have a high fever and suffered from aches. He considered it the flu, but later he began to have heavy coughs which made it difficult for him to breath. He then received a chest X-ray at a hospital and was diagnosed with moderate to severe pneumonia.

One month before his illness, the man took a trip together with his girlfriend and her family. The girlfriend’s nephew had “walking pneumonia” and kept coughing up phlegm during the journey.

The man said he didn’t realize until the epidemic broke out in South Carolina that he might have been infected with COVID-19 in 2019.

He was not the only case in South Carolina. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), South Carolina started to report sporadic influenza cases in September 2019, and the flu became widespread in November.

Data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) showed that, in the first week of December 2019, people who were hospitalized due to influenza in the states increased 41 percent year on year, but when it came to the beginning of 2020 when the coronavirus was officially spreading, the number gradually decreased and became very low.

On March 11, 2020, then CDC director Robert Redfield admitted that some deaths that seems to be caused by influenza in fact could be caused by the coronavirus.

Similar cases were also reported in another East Coast state Florida. In late November 2019, a resident in a community named Delray Beach started to have pains, severe coughing and night sweats. One month later, the disease with the same symptoms began to spread through the entire community.

In May of 2020, The Palm Beach Post reported that those residents who had the symptoms all tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, which medical experts said suggests that they had been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

In the meantime, the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI) warned the U.S. administration several times about the outbreak of an epidemic that would be “cataclysmic”, though the information didn’t reach every official.

Michael Melham, the mayor of Belleville in New Jersey, said he suffered the worst illness in his adulthood in late November 2019, and was diagnosed with influenza at that time. Months later, Melham tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies.

In Florida, the official first case was announced on March 1, 2020, but the local health department released the data of 171 COVID-19 cases, of which the earliest one was confirmed in January 2020. Most of the 171 people didn’t travel abroad, which means that the disease was already spreading in communities in Florida when scientists at that time believe the transmission was limited to international travelers.

However, the data was deleted, and the person who was in charge of the Florida COVID-19 data portal was fired soon after.

The Seattle Times also reported a similar case in Washington State. A 64-year-old woman went to a hospital in late December of 2019 due to pains, fever and noise in her lungs when coughing. Doctors gave her medicine for asthma, and she became better after a month of treatment. In early February 2020, she went to Kirkland City and met with a friend who was a nurse at a medical center.

Later, this small city with a population less than 100,000 became an epicenter. By that time, seven of the 11 deaths from COVID-19 across America were related to a nursing home in Kirkland, and the 64-year-old woman later was tested positive for coronavirus antibodies.

The local health department admitted that the woman was not a single case, and they didn’t include these people into early COVID-19 cases.

A research study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that the coronavirus was spreading in America as early as December 2019. Several scientists from the CDC also published a research report, saying they found coronavirus antibodies in 39 blood samples taken in December 2019. However, the research was suspended by the U.S. government, and blood samples taken before Jan. 2, 2020 were sealed.

A Yuyuantantian reporter also interviewed a resident living near Seattle, who said he was infected with an unknown case of pneumonia in October 2019 and suffered from a high fever. He had X-rays taken every day, but not until several months later, doctors finally diagnosed him as a COVID-19 case from the X-ray films. He has 14 relatives who suffered the same symptoms, but they didn’t meet before having the symptoms.

These clues of early infections in the country have been ignored and even covered up by U.S. politicians, and 66 days after it was officially announced as the first COVID-19 case, the United States became the country with the most confirmed cases in the world, up until today.

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