WASHINGTON – Health histories and recent test results open the possibility that the new coronavirus was circulating in the United States before January, said a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
“Armed with positive antibody tests for COVID-19 and a history of related symptoms, some Americans think they had the disease as early as fall 2019,” said the report “Antibody Tests and Accuracy Issues Leave Some Americans With More Questions Than Answers” posted on www.wsj.com Thursday.
According to the report, New Jersey dental hygienist Judy Abram suffered a severe illness that left her gasping for air last November, and she tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies last month.
“They just have the timeline wrong somewhere, which explains why we’re so deep in it,” Abram was quoted as saying. “I felt so strongly. I would’ve questioned if the test came back negative.”
Antibody tests alone aren’t enough to redraw the timeline of U.S. transmissions, even though it is possible the virus reached the United States late last year, Richard Tedder, visiting professor of medical virology at the Imperial College London, told the WSJ. “We can’t turn the clock back unless we have blood samples from the time.”
“Still, some people think the antibody-test results and the personal histories show that the disease may have been circulating months before Jan. 21, which is the date of the first-known U.S. infection,” the report said.
This month, the U.S. state of Ohio listed 12 cases in January as probable COVID-19 cases, showing people who recently had COVID-19 antibodies and recalled being sick that month, according to the report.
Many people who think they had early COVID-19 infections have joined a Facebook group called “Survivor Corps,” it added.