What is the straight dope on people in the U.S. having Covid-19 in November-January?

I’ve heard this in several places. Something to the effect of: I know I had Covid-19 back in December because of X, Y, and Z. Is this even possible?

I say this because I was pretty sick around January 10. I had chest congestion, a slight fever, and was incredibly fatigued. I mean, it was so bad that if I couldn’t stay awake for more than five or six hours. I passed it off as the flu and did the usual. My wife even remarked that I needed to go to the doctor because it had lasted about a week. I told her if it wasn’t better in a couple days I would go. But I slowly started getting better.

No aches and pains, no vomiting, no diarrhea, just a weird shitty feeling. Is it possible/likely I had Covid-19? If so, is there a test I could take now that would determine that? Thanks.

And as a followup, if it was found that I had Covid-19, could I then be comfortable in ignoring current safety protocols, shaking hands and not social distancing secure in the knowledge that I would neither be passing on the disease nor at risk of catching it again?

Would I be indestructible like Mr. Burns? :slight_smile:

Very very unlikely. It probably was the flu. After all, it isn’t as if Covid-19 has somehow magically displaced the flu from doing its normal rounds. Covid-19 would need to have some magical properties to have been spreading under the radar back then.

Antibody tests are on their way, but not yet.

It’s pretty unlikely, but when things have calmed down would love to have reputable virus chasers provide the evidence of where this actually originated.

The conspiracy theory goes like this:

  • mysterious lung/pneumonia among vaping youths was in the US press
  • spread to some members of the US “military olympics” team
  • US military olympics team, while at the world military olympic games, were carriers, visited the epicenter market, enjoyed the local nightlife and were unwitting spreaders
  • some members of the olympics team saw Chinese doctors and were proscribed for malarial type symptoms
  • The US team did poorly (since there were infected)
  • The US team left before the medal ceremonies because they were so sick.

Like many conspiracy theories, it kinda sorta maybe sounds “logical”…

Or from a Chinese lab.

I don’t take any of these “I totally had COVID-19 in January!” stories seriously, certainly not in the US. The reason is that if they’d had COVID-19 in January, they’d have infected a bunch of people (hot tip: this is why COVID-19 is so dangerous! because it’s so easy to get, especially in a population that isn’t doing social distancing!), and some of those people would have gone to the hospital, and we would have seen the kind of hospitalization rates we’re seeing in April in February instead. And we didn’t see them. There wasn’t a rash of people in critical care in February, and there is now.

I was really sick in January too, and I was down for a couple of days (very rare for me) and didn’t feel like myself for a couple of weeks. I sure wish it was COVID-19 (in the sense of, then I would have had it already), but I’m very sure it was the flu for the above reason.

OK, OK, OK, I may not have had COVID-19, but I’m pretty sure I had COVID-18.5 a few months ago.

Remember the big H1N1 outbreak in the fall of 2009? There was a big outbreak of a similar disease the previous spring that many people believe was some kind of mutant viral strain that didn’t show up on tests that existed at the time. Where I lived, it seemed to mostly strike children, who would be very sick for a few days and then recovered slowly.

The figure I’ve heard is that it jumped from animals to humans the third week of november. Which means the first symptomatic people would’ve been around the last week of november. The disease spread, but at first it was spreading slowly from 1, to 2, to 4, etc people. I’m not sure how long the R0 window is, but I’m guessing there were less than a thousand people worldwide with it by the end of December 2019.

The disease seems to have started in the end of November. From there, it just takes one plane to the US to start it going. In theory.

But, also in theory, you could have had any number of people from Wuhan fly to the US through December and January, who simply had good cleanliness habits, didn’t meet very many people, didn’t go on public transportation, etc. and ended up not infecting any other people, infected only a few who became immediately immune to it, or otherwise lead to an infection cul-de-sac.

The first definitive case in the US was a man who flew into the country on January 15, 83 days ago. If he is the true patient zero and we assume that the number of infected doubles per day then we would expect about 1.8m people to be infected in the country. We have only discovered 380,000, implying that we have only tested about 21% of our cases.

New York seems likely to be the best-tested state in the country and they currently have a total infection count of 138,836. Let’s assume that they’ve tested 35% of everyone infected. That would mean that they have 396,000 cases and their first case would have been around 74.4 days ago - sometime after January 15.

Mid-to-late January certainly seems to be the answer both in terms of math and provable cases. There may have been some earlier cases, but they are unlikely to have spread beyond a handful of people or the math would give us results back to before patient 0.

The thing I keep hearing about is how California ought to be the epicenter with the worst number of cases because of the Asian population that travels back and forth from China and California and the homeless population, etc. How the Chinese New Year a couple months preceding the Coronavirus when millions travel back and forth, that possibly the virus was already spreading and perhaps silently leading to herd immunity in California. I have no idea if there is any validity to the theory, California doesn’t seem that hard hit as you would think though, given its huge population.

California was the first (?) state to lock down and most of the people who came from China would have been in tech.

Tech is not known for being full of extroverts and it’s an industry very friendly to telecommuting. A lot of the businesses sent their workers home even before the government acted and a lot of people who felt ill probably started telecommuting very early, just to be safe, since it didn’t affect their ability to work greatly.

I think ‘silent’ herd immunity would be utterly impossible. Given how insanely contagious this bug is we’d have had a massive run on the hospitals and many deaths, even if folks were unsure at first what is causing it.

It’s probably as simple as the relatively quick shelter in place order. First regionally in the six of the SF Bay Area counties, which is probably the most widely cosmopolitan area of the state. Followed by the rest of California a few days later.

Although the number of new cases is still going up, there are signs the rate is already slowing in the Bay Area after three weeks. It’s an encouraging sign, though hardly certain at this point.

Well I mean Washington state isn’t exactly unknown for its tech prowess. I find it astonishing that Washington apparently has more deaths than California which has 32 Million more people! I assume Washington was a state that was early to shut everything down because of the virus but I don’t live there and don’t really know.

Many of those deaths were in that nursing home that seemed to be an epicenter.