Sunday, May 31, 2020

First cases of COVID-19 in New York City primarily from European and US sources

News Release 29-May-2020
American Association for the Advancement of Science

In New York City, the first confirmed COVID-19 cases arose mostly through untracked transmission of the virus from Europe and other parts of the United States, a new molecular epidemiology study of 84 patients reports.


The results indicate SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to New York City through multiple independent but isolated introductions mainly from Europe and other parts of the United States. Most of these cases appear associated with untracked transmission and potential travel-related exposures, the authors say. Very few of the cases were infected with a virus that looked to be introduced from Asia, and in those, the virus was most closely related to viral isolates from Seattle, Washington. The authors also found evidence that early spread of the virus in New York City was sustained by community transmission. Their data also point to the limited efficacy of travel restrictions in a place once multiple introductions of the virus and community-driven transmission have already occurred. The results also underscore the need for early and continued broad testing to identify untracked transmission clusters in communities.

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