A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is confirming other studies that have said the first cases of the coronavirus studied in New Yorkers came from Europe and other places in the U.S.
The airport screenings and bans on foreign nationals traveling from China implemented on Feb. 2 and restrictions for travelers from Europe implemented on March 13 did nothing to stop or slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, because it was already in New York City, according to the report released Thursday.
Using data collected from patients with influenza-like symptoms at six New York City emergency departments (two in Manhattan, two in Queens, one in Brooklyn and one in the Bronx) during March 1–20, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found that out of 544 people, 36 were SARS-CoV-2–positive with specimens resembled those circulating in Europe.
Five out of the six emergency departments were selected due to their usage by patients residing in ZIP codes with a high proportion of Chinese speakers, the report said. However, none of the samples collected were directly connected to sequences from Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated.