Horowitz: Lockdowns missed the boat: More likely coronavirus cases in US as early as December

· May 18, 2020  
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Once it became clear that this coronavirus was in Wuhan at least as early as November 17, I pointed out that it was inconceivable that the virus was not in the U.S. shortly thereafter, given the extent of travel between the two countries. Last week, the Ohio Department of Health announced the discovery of six cases in January. Now there is evidence of possible cases in December in several other states.

The Seattle Times reported that a woman named Jean, 64, from Snohomish County, like so many other Americans, felt she experienced symptoms of coronavirus during the week of Christmas 2019. Now that antibody testing has become pervasive, she got herself tested and turned up positive for the antibodies. According to a local health official, another Snohomish County resident also tested positive after claiming to have had similar symptoms in December.

While this is not yet scientific proof that the December illness was necessarily COVID-19, it’s another piece of circumstantial evidence corroborating what is simple common sense. Snohomish County is home to the first known COVID-19 patient who traveled back from Wuhan to the Seattle area on January 15 and was officially designated as the first case in the country on January 20. However, that patient was never confirmed definitively as “patient zero,” just as the first known case.

It will be interesting to watch in the coming days whether all the people nationwide posting on social media anecdotally about experiencing symptoms throughout the early winter who tested negative for the flu will test positive for antibodies. To be clear, antibody tests cannot pinpoint exactly when the virus was contracted or when the antibodies entered the body. The antibodies tend to appear in the blood several weeks after a person presents with symptoms of the virus.

A similar story was reported in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where an anonymous couple was sick in December and tested negative for the flu and strep throat, but have now tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. But there is an interesting wrinkle in these retroactive discoveries of COVID-19 cases. States are now using the positive results from antibody tests to retroactively add more cases to the official count of a given county and therefore insinuate that they are a hot zone, even though the case was likely from months ago! The Johnstown couple is reportedly upset that the state health department is using their story to increase the case count in Cambria County.

It’s uncanny how so many state governments pushing lockdowns use our assertions against us when we are proven right. Rather than coming to the realization that this virus was here long before any lockdown could have worked, they are pocketing that reality to bolster the case for continuing a lockdown. Rather than using the implication of a lower fatality rate to end the draconian policies, they are focusing on the number of cases, now higher than previously thougt, as a bad omen for more deaths. The reality of more cases and fewer deaths is thus turned upside down.

According to an analysis conducted by the Miami Herald, “At least 26 patients started displaying COVID-19 symptoms in late December or January,” in what they believe was a much earlier community spread than previously discovered.

France also found a COVID-19 case dating back to Dec. 27, and a genetic study published by British researchers found evidence of “extensive worldwide transmission of COVID-19” that had been “seeded by a large number of independent introductions of the virus…likely from extremely early on in the pandemic.”

Justin Hart, an information data architect from San Diego, highlighted new CDC data in a Twitter thread that makes a convincing case that there were excess COVID-19 deaths taking place before January.

Justin explained his analysis on my podcast last week and showed how it demonstrates the virus has been with us since at least December and that for most people it doesn’t it appear deadlier than the 2018 flu. Michael Levitt, professor of biophysics at Stanford and 2013 chemistry Nobel laureate, referred to Justin’s analysis as “impressive.”

We will likely discover in nearly every state that community spread began long before any mitigation efforts, rendering them akin to closing the barn door after the horses had left. Which would explain why there is absolutely no correlation between severity and duration of lockdowns and positive results. If anything, there is something of an inverse relationship, likely because we locked down people who had already contracted the virus indoors for a prolonged period of time.

Author: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.