The virus spread from Europe
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that the coronavirus cases in New York City at the start of the pandemic came from Europe, sparking a new wave of anger from Governor Andrew Cuomo. "Because of the failure of the government, this virus came to New York and it killed Americans," he told reporters by telephone Thursday afternoon. "These are the facts. They missed science." The report is entitled "Detection and Genetic Characterization of Community-based SARS-COV-2 infection - New York City, March 2020," and states that "The New York City Department of Health and Mental Health conducted sentinel surveillance for influenza-like symptoms (ILS). ) and gene sequencing to characterize community transmission and to determine the geographic origin of SARS-COV-2 infection. Of the 544 specimens from the ILS that tested negative for influenza, 36 (6.6%) were positive. Positive samples of genetic sequencing have the most similar sequences circulating in Europe."
The CDC also noted that while domestic airport checks and "foreign travel bans from China" were in place on February 2, "similar travel restrictions within the European Schengen area were only in place on March 13," when the virus was already in New York. "While travel restrictions are an important mitigation strategy, by the time the European restrictions were implemented, import and community transmission of SARS-COV-2 had already occurred in New York State."
Cuomo reiterated the view that the European travel ban is too late. "The President likes to talk about the [Chinese flight] travel ban working... His own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the travel ban is too late." He noted that thousands of European flights landed at JFK and Newark airports in early March.
The CDC report also supports Mount Sinai's finding, published in April, that the genome associated with COVID-19 patients in New York City is similar to a virus in Europe.
A dejected Cuomo warned: "There will be a second wave, but it won't be a mutated virus... It will be a rebound from coVID-19 that infected other states and spread it back to New York."
The governor said it would be a "two-barrel gun for federal incompetence" and urged: "The President, follow the science, open your eyes and listen to federal health officials."