The novel coronavirus, a respiratory disease, that has infected over 6 million people worldwide, and has caused over 370,000 deaths, is likely to have started spreading in the U.S. in early January, based on the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis. CDC scientists speculate that transmission began on the west coast and largely remained undetected for over a month. The rapid and silent movement of COVID-19, along with the state’s large population and lack of preparedness, have contributed to the U.S. being the most infected country in the world. As of this writing, the U.S. has over 106,000 deaths, nearly 30% of the global total.
The CDC recently concluded that the national outbreak began with a “single unidentified imported case from China”. It was also reported that many chains of transmission were not planned for, and therefore cost the U.S. the opportunity to successfully prevent the spread of the outbreak. Lastly the agency acknowledged the fact that because not much was known on the coronavirus during the early stages of the pandemic, the public may not have been aware of several key factors that have contributed to the spread of the disease, including but not limited to, the severity of the situation, how the disease was spread, preventative measures, or even if they themselves were carrying the disease. Many COVID-19 cases were also mistaken for the flu, by patients and medical staff, who at the time saw no need for testing.
The CDC has faced a large amount of blame for the state’s overall unpreparedness for combating COVID-19. Kristian Andersen, an expert in viral genomes from Scripps Research, voiced frustration on the overall state of emergency saying “it’s a sad fact that the U.S. missed the boat on getting adequate testing set up early enough to be able to stop the virus in its tracks, it’s likely one of the several reasons we have by far the most cases of any country in the world”.
Public officials continue to worry about the spread of the coronavirus nationwide, as the U.S. attempts to reopen businesses, and with enormous amounts of gathering in several large cities, to protest the death of George Floyd. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo voiced his concerns on the matter saying “now we are seeing these mass gatherings over the past couple of nights, that could in fact exacerbate the spread. We have to take a minute and ask, what are we doing here? What are we trying to accomplish?”