Studies Show N.Y. Outbreak Originated in Europe

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The hearbeat
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Studies Show N.Y. Outbreak Originated in Europe

Postby The hearbeat » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:35 am

The C.D.C. outlined how essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed. Scientists warn that the virus might not fade in warm weather.
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New research indicates that the coronavirus began to circulate in the New York area by mid-February, weeks before the first confirmed case, and that it was brought to the region mainly by travelers from Europe, not Asia.

“The majority is clearly European,” said Harm van Bakel, a geneticist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who co-wrote a study awaiting peer review.

A separate team at N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine came to strikingly similar conclusions, despite studying a different group of cases. Both teams analyzed genomes from coronaviruses taken from New Yorkers starting in mid-March.
The research revealed a previously hidden spread of the virus that might have been detected if aggressive testing programs had been put in place. On Jan. 31, President Trump barred foreign nationals from entering the country if they had been in China — the site of the virus’s first known outbreak — during the previous two weeks.

Viruses invade a cell and take over its molecular machinery, causing it to make new viruses. An international guild of viral historians ferrets out the history of outbreaks by poring over clues embedded in the genetic material of viruses taken from thousands of patients.
In January, a team of Chinese and Australian researchers published the first genome of the new virus. Since then, researchers around the world have sequenced over 3,000 more. Some are genetically identical to each other, while others carry distinctive mutations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published new guidelines on Wednesday detailing how essential employees can go back to work even if they have been exposed to people infected by the coronavirus, provided they do not feel sick and follow certain precautions.

Those employees can return if they take their temperature before heading to their workplaces, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing while on the job, Dr. Robert Redfield, the C.D.C. director, said at the White House briefing. They should not share headsets or other objects that touch their faces, and they should not congregate in break rooms or crowded areas, he said.

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