Just over a year since the first deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. were recorded, there’s still uncertainty about the accuracy of those reports.
Initially, a man in Seattle, Washington, who died on 26 February 2020 as a result of the novel coronavirus was thought to be the first in the country.
But was he really? There is certainly room for doubt.
According to a timeline by Derrick Bryson Taylor for the New York Times: “In fact, two people had died earlier, though their COVID-19 diagnoses were not discovered until months later.”
Food for thought. A BBC article from April 2020 reports that two people who died in Santa Clara County, on 6 February and 17 February, were later found to have died with COVID-19.
But it may go back even further. Robert Hart, writing in Forbes, highlights a study by leading researchers, which found “evidence that COVID-19 was present in the U.S. in December 2019, weeks earlier than previously thought and before even the first cases in Wuhan, China, had been publicly identified. “
This aligned with my own hunch that COVID-19 was present in the U.S. weeks before the ‘official’ first recorded case.
Why am I so sure? I will tell you.
In those weeks, I was on a long-awaited American west coast holiday, including a week of cruising to and from the Mexican Riviera.
When leaving home, I was healthy in a general sense, besides my constant unwanted friend: primary progressive multiple sclerosis - and its resulting disability.
But by the end of the holiday, I was definitely feeling the worse for wear. I was tired and weak, unable to transfer between bed and wheelchair without help. In fact, without the assistance of a cabin steward and one of his colleagues, transfer would have been impossible on a number of occasions.