The coronovirus may have reached Los Angeles by Christmas


The novel was Coronovirus on the loose in Los Angeles in December, before the World Health Organization was also aware of an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China.

A new analysis of medical records from UCLA hospitals and clinics suggests that the answer may be yes.

Researchers at UCLA and their colleagues at the University of Washington documented an unexplained fluctuation in patients seeking treatment for cough. The hike started from the week of December 22, 2019 and continued till the end of February.

Some of those patients were treated in outpatient centers. Others came to the emergency rooms, and some were eventually admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center or other hospitals operated by UCLA.

Officials at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first believed that the coronovirus reached US shores in mid-January, when a Washington state man traveled to the area around Wuhan that tested positive for an infection Was. The authors of the study wrote that by then, UCLA doctors would have treated dozens of COVID-19 patients without realizing. (In fact, it will take three weeks for COVID-19 to get its official name.)

The researchers did not conduct any clinical trials, so they cannot say with certainty when doctors have previously encountered someone infected with the virus, known as SARS-COV-2. But if the coronovirus had indeed been spreading under the radar since Christmas, the pattern of patient visits to UCLA facilities would look very much like what actually happened, he said in a study published Thursday in the Journal of Medical Internet Research wrote.

Dr. The Joan Elmore-led team wrote, “SARS-Cove-2’s community prevalence is high with patients starting in late December 2019 and up to February 2020 and continuing until February 2020.” , Who is both a trainee and professor of health policy and management at UCLA.

To search for signs of early COVID-19 patients, Elmore and his colleagues searched for more than five years through more than 9.5 million outpatient visits, approximately 575,000 emergency room visits, and approximately 250,000 hospital admissions. Medical records that show a patient complaining of cough were included in the analysis.

Researchers counted a total of 2,938 patients who went to a clinic seeking help for cough in 13 weeks between December 13, 2019 and February 29, 2020. This was about 1,047 more than the average number of cough patients seen during that time. Same three month period in last five years. This was almost 739 more than the number of patients seen in the winter of 2016–17, which was the busiest cough season for clinics until 2014 this year.

In emergency rooms, researchers lengthened cough patients to 1,708 last December, January and February. Researchers estimated an average of about 514 more than the average for the last five winters and more than 229 in 2018-19, the researchers estimated.

Finally, a search of medical records replaced 1,138 patients, who were hospitalized in December, January, or February, and were treated for acute respiratory failure. This was approximately 387 more than the average number of acute respiratory failure patients admitted in the last five winters, and about 210 more than the number admitted in the winter of 2018–19, the worst in the first five winters.

Elmore and his colleagues wrote, “It is possible that this addition represents some COVID-19 disease prior to clinical validation and testing.”

Breaking things week by week, the study authors found that the number of cough patients visiting clinics this past winter exceeded a statistically significant margin in 10 of the 13 weeks analyzed. This was also true for cough patients in ERS at week six. And inside hospitals, the number of patients with acute respiratory distress was significantly higher at seven out of 13 weeks.

Even though some of these “additional seizures” were from patients with COVID-19, it could be an indication that the novel coronavirus was quietly spreading in and around Los Angeles, the researchers wrote. As was evident later in the epidemic, approximately 40% of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 never develop any symptoms of the disease, and those with minor symptoms do not bother seeking medical treatment. This means that patients who went to a clinic or hospital probably represent the tip of the iceberg, the study’s authors explained.

To ensure that some of these additional cough patients had regular seasonal flu, especially since flu cases had risen earlier than normal this winter, the researchers wrote. It is also possible that the 2019 outbreak of vapor-related respiratory disease made an additional contribution, he added.

But the idea that coronovirus was circulating in California even before December 31, when the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission first announced its cluster of unexplained pneumonia cases, may not be far-fetched.

We now know that seven patients treated at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in mid-March for flu-like illness actually had COVID-19. The fact that they all felt good enough to leave their homes and had no apparent connection to anyone who had recently visited a COVID-19 hotspot suggests that they are continuing community transmission. Another group of researchers have written in the Journal of the American Medical Assn.

Similar cases seen in Santa Clara County around the same time, according to a study in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, had until then been a widespread virus in the Bay Area.

We cannot know for sure when coronoviruses arrived in Los Angeles – or anywhere else in the United States. Nevertheless, the results of the new study suggest that data obtained from the clinic’s medical records “may give early warning to emergency departments and hospital intensive care units as to what is to come,” the UCLA team wrote.

“Lessons learned from this pandemic will lead to better preparedness and the ability to track the next pandemic quickly,” he said.