New York's coronavirus outbreak came from Europe and other parts of the United States, research projects suggest

The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus continued to reach grim milestones, with more than 800 fatalities reported in New York City, according to city health officials. CNN's Nick Watt has the latest.

Posted: Apr 8, 2020 10:13 AM
Updated: Apr 9, 2020 9:45 PM


Two separate research projects suggest that the novel coronavirus may have been circulating in New York City earlier than thought and the earliest cases likely originated with travelers coming from Europe and other parts of the United States, not Asia.

The new data come from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the NYU Grossman School of Medicine.

With more than 80,000 cases and 4,260 coronavirus deaths, according to the city's website, New York is one of the major epicenters for the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

On March 1, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio reported the city's first novel coronavirus case had been confirmed. 'The patient contracted the virus during recent travel and is isolated in her home under close monitoring,' de Blasio wrote in a Twitter post that night.

Soon after, the city that never sleeps cautioned against public gatherings, and New Rochelle, New York, closed schools as the virus spread quickly there.

'It's all hands on deck now'

Now new data from NYU Langone Health suggests that the novel coronavirus has been spreading in New York for a couple of months now -- long before testing started -- and a genetic analysis of viral samples in the city indicate that they originated in Europe, according to an announcement from the academic medical center on Thursday.

The announcement notes that this early data was based on examining the genetic material of the novel coronavirus taken from 75 patients in New York City. Nasal swab samples were collected from the patients at Tisch Hospital, NYU Winthrop Hospital and NYU Langone Hospital Brooklyn.

'As viruses evolve during transmission from person to person, their sequences can help researchers to zero in on the provenance, or place of origin, of that specific infection,' Dr. Matija Snuderl, leader of the clinical testing team and director of molecular pathology and diagnostics at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, said in the announcement.

The new data has not been published yet in a report, pre-print paper, study or peer-reviewed journal.

'We're just starting this project, but will soon be sequencing 192 viral samples per week with the goal of offering thousands of sequences for analysis in the near future,' Adriana Heguy, leader of the research team and director of the Genome Technology Center at NYU Langone Health, said in the announcement.

Heguy added in an email on Thursday that 'we want the whole community to have access as soon as we have the data. It's all hands on deck now.'

The 'dynamics of the pandemic'

Separately, a pre-print study from Mount Sinai, published online Thursday at medRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed, involved sequencing and analyzing 90 complete coronavirus genomes from 84 Covid-19 patients who sought care in the Mount Sinai Health System between February 29 and March 18.

The cases came from two towns in Westchester county and 21 New York City neighborhoods across Manhattan, Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. Those cases were analyzed along with 2,363 publicly available coronavirus genomes from around the world.

The Mount Sinai study traced the cases in the city and found there is 'limited evidence' supporting that the virus was directly introduced there from China, where the coronavirus originated. China was under the United States' early travel restrictions in February.

'With increased testing, we observed the emergence of community acquired infections with the majority of the community cases caused by viral isolates from clades that are of European origin,' the researchers wrote in the Mount Sinai study.

'Taken together, we provide a first analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 viral genotypes collected from patients seeking medical care,' the researchers wrote. 'We find that New York City, as an international hub, provides not only a snapshot of the diversity of disease-causing SARS-CoV-2 at the global level but also informs on the dynamics of the pandemic at the local level.'

Fauci: 'It's just not surprising'

The findings in these emerging data -- that the novel coronavirus may have been circulating in New York earlier than thought, with most cases from Europe -- are 'probably correct,' the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said during an appearance on 'Good Morning America' on Thursday.

'Europe became the epicenter pretty quickly after China really exploded with their cases,' Fauci told ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

'We cut off the travel from China relatively early and we were seeded with a relatively few number of cases from China but very quickly the epicenter switched to Europe, particularly northern Italy,' said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

'Given the travel and the air traffic from anywhere in Italy, but also particularly northern Italy, it's just not surprising that unfortunately and inadvertently New York was seeded before they really knew what was going on,' Fauci said. 'And that's why they're in the difficult situation that they're in right now -- a very unfortunate situation.'

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1112735

Reported Deaths: 17652
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1450832237
Lake721711247
Allen66684881
Hamilton50838487
St. Joseph49493645
Elkhart40079546
Vanderburgh34553496
Tippecanoe30654274
Johnson27559465
Hendricks26181383
Porter25556386
Madison21002452
Clark20146278
Vigo18966309
LaPorte17115261
Delaware16666300
Howard16666313
Monroe16556220
Kosciusko14216167
Hancock13061185
Bartholomew12894190
Warrick12152190
Wayne12036268
Floyd11968226
Grant11901242
Morgan10360192
Boone9815122
Noble9234122
Henry9142167
Marshall9062147
Dearborn8923100
Dubois8815139
Shelby8210129
Cass8134127
Lawrence8018185
DeKalb7761108
Jackson764093
Huntington7601113
Gibson7074118
Montgomery7052123
Harrison6923100
Knox6896115
Steuben665889
Miami6563111
Whitley655360
Putnam641584
Clinton624579
Wabash6182111
Jasper610892
Jefferson5796104
Ripley555893
Adams540581
Daviess5062117
Scott488280
Wells4814104
White475669
Greene4680100
Clay462862
Decatur4597110
Jennings448867
Fayette448396
LaGrange425990
Posey407544
Randolph3908107
Washington389856
Fountain373464
Fulton362474
Spencer360747
Starke353574
Owen351277
Sullivan347554
Orange329172
Jay328850
Rush306832
Carroll294239
Franklin290844
Perry288553
Vermillion282758
Tipton250066
Parke249630
Pike247244
Blackford221244
Pulaski208559
Newton181752
Brown176150
Crawford168829
Benton166517
Martin151820
Switzerland147212
Warren135316
Union121016
Ohio92113
Unassigned0592

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1708292

Reported Deaths: 26587
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1785651827
Cuyahoga1669492640
Hamilton1132851528
Montgomery801921395
Summit715401199
Lucas627081020
Butler56598805
Stark535121171
Lorain41895642
Warren35785412
Mahoning35635771
Lake32124495
Clermont31120363
Trumbull27130616
Delaware27046182
Licking26528336
Medina25825351
Fairfield24511287
Greene24265372
Clark21980387
Portage21117281
Richland20947340
Wood20015246
Allen18870320
Miami17196348
Columbiana16795332
Muskingum16644206
Wayne15664306
Tuscarawas14329360
Marion13250194
Ashtabula12618232
Erie12602198
Scioto12416184
Pickaway12208153
Ross11639225
Hancock11448173
Geauga10863175
Lawrence10617172
Belmont10416234
Huron9765158
Jefferson9601227
Union954075
Sandusky9272166
Seneca8853157
Knox8761170
Washington8675158
Darke8365180
Athens835396
Ashland7956149
Auglaize7897117
Shelby7459133
Defiance7331115
Crawford7233150
Fulton7167112
Brown7135115
Logan6975108
Guernsey691484
Mercer689998
Highland6718119
Clinton6493106
Madison648089
Williams645199
Preble6243140
Putnam6220120
Jackson578896
Champaign578487
Perry564979
Coshocton5623104
Ottawa561999
Morrow515264
Fayette492170
Hardin485999
Gallia469678
Van Wert465693
Pike463476
Adams4569109
Henry432378
Hocking407193
Holmes3989140
Wyandot374973
Carroll363978
Paulding323851
Meigs304959
Monroe235561
Noble219647
Morgan215238
Harrison210953
Vinton186937
Unassigned06
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