At least one person died in early February of covid-19 in Santa Clara, California, making the first coronavirus-related death in the United States almost three weeks earlier than previously thought, according to a report from the authorities in that county.
The report represents a change in the trajectory of the coronavirus in the country, because that death not only happened before what was known, but was detected in a different place.
According to general knowledge based on official public health figures, the first death from covid-19 occurred on February 26 in Kirkland, a town in Washington state, which was the first focus of the virus in the United States.
According to the Santa Clara forensic office, autopsies performed on two people who died at home on February 6 and 17 confirmed that they had been infected with covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. A third person from that county died of the virus on March 6, he added.
“These three individuals died in their homes during a time when testing was very limited only through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”The coroner’s office said in a statement.
“The guidelines set by the CDC at the time restricted testing to only individuals with a travel record and who had sought medical attention for specific symptoms,” he added.
Although it has not been confirmed by the authorities, this suggests that the coronavirus spread through Santa Clara County earlier than previously thought and specifically through community contagion, because it is not known that these deceased persons had recently traveled.
Precisely in Santa Clara, a study of antibodies to covid-19 recently revealed that there could be 50 to 80 times more infections than have been reported. If valid, the findings carry important repercussions such as a lower mortality rate than previously estimated, although there are reasons to doubt the results.
In this investigation, blood drops from 3,300 people were analyzed for antibodies to the new coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2). Between 2.5% and 4.2% tested positive, a percentage that, if extrapolated to the general population of the county, results in 48,000 to 81,000 cases, by far many of the 1,000 confirmed cases registered in that county when the samples were taken from the study.