Researchers at UCLA announced Thursday that they saw an increase in patients dealing with cough and acute respiratory failure in its hospitals and clinics in late December, suggesting that the virus could be transmitted months before the US confirmed the first definitive cases. could.
The number of patients with similar symptoms began to increase through February. UCLA states that the spike in patients who experience symptoms related to the respiratory system represents an unexpected 50% increase in such cases when compared with the same time period in each of the last five years.
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UCLA Health’s Dr. “The epidemic has really highlighted our need for agile health care analytics, which enables monitoring of symptoms and disease in real time using electronic health record data,” said Michael Fafar. “Technology, including artificial intelligence driven by machine learning, has a greater ability to detect and track irregular changes in health data, including significant excesses of patients with specific disease-type presentations in the weeks or months before an outbreak.”
UCLA also reported that it has seen an increase in the number of patients in emergency departments for cough and acute respiratory failure in the same period of 2019.
Los Angeles is far from the only American city that could have been exposed to coronovirus before March. The New York Times reported that several hidden outbreaks were detected in several other cities in the country, including San Francisco, Boston, Chicago and Seattle.
As of Thursday, the United States shows more than 6.3 million positive COVID-19 cases and tops 190,200 deaths related to infectious disease. Los Angeles County, which has seen a steady decrease in the past few days, has racked up a total of 249,859 positive cases and about 6,100 deaths.
City News Service contributed to this report.