COVID-19 Storm Hit New York Earlier Than Believed

We know definitively that COVID-19 debuted in the United States not as a thunderclap sudden downpour, but entered as thousands of unnoticed raindrops for weeks to months prior to its March 2020 hysteria.  Research like that of Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine continues to confirm this perspective in contrast to the media’s portrayal of the preventable thunderclap which our system failed to avoid.  In reviewing over 10,000 blood samples of New Yorkers in the winter and spring of 2020, they concluded that 20 percent of New Yorkers have had COVID, the death rate is about 1%, and most importantly the epidemic began before March 1’st initial case.  If only they would take logic a step further.

The researchers took over 4000 samples from patients presenting to emergency or urgent care settings as well as over 6000 samples from patients in non-urgent outpatient care settings (primary care, OB-Gyn, elective surgeries, cardiology office visits, and others) and tested them for the presence of antibodies to Sars-CoV-2, the virus behind COVID-19.  This surveillance revealed a significant rate of asymptomatic viral carriers in the non-urgent settings and the presence of antibodies at least 1 week prior to the March 1st initial case announcement.

In examining this study and its implications, we can add a little more to these methods and conclusions.  This study begin early February looking for antibodies to SarsCoV2. This study assumes that antibodies persist and are the best marker for identifying presence of virus without falsely flagging someone as positive due to another coronavirus cross reaction.

I would take this and apply a little discernment, taking logic a step further.  First, combined with other studies also indicating the presence of the virus in America weeks to months before February 2020, we have to realize that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can not prevent Humpty Dumpty from getting a virus.  We may be able to lessen or slow the spread of a virus, but a contagious virus will spread.  While many will point to smallpox as an example of conquering a virus, epidemiology offers countless uncontrolled infectious diseases rampant in today’s world.  We are fooling ourselves if we think we can completely prevent this little monster from tipping over Humpty.

Second, this article sounds very authoritative and definitive.  Yes, science of all forms and flavors, including medical science strives for the right answer.  “Maybe’s” and “I hope so’s” don’t get published in journals.  It would help if all articles were required to include the following disclaimer.

“Dear Reader, medical research is on a journey searching for the truth about the complexity of human life.  We are not yet finished.  The article you have just read or will be reading offers a perspective that is what we believe to be true at this moment, but could be partially, even completely overturned next week by further research findings.  Take this article with a grain of salt and keep moving on your own journey to learn more about your own health.  While swallowing our salt, chew on it and think for yourself instead of taking our word for it.”

In this case, the authors believe that antibody testing serves as the right view of how many people contracted COVID-19 at a given time.  This seems to ignore other research that antibodies seem to wane in many patients even after more severe cases.  This also ignores some other research which indicates SarsCoV2 antibodies may cross react with other coronaviruses such as those which cause the common cold.  This likely means that while we can probably agree that SarsCoV2 began as earlier raindrops, their estimates of the numbers are a little fuzzier than they assert.

In guiding our clinic patients to healthier more abundant lives, we work with the “science” we have and eagerly await future findings that improve our chances of success.  In guiding the public on matters of health, we not only work with the same science and educate, but also strive to equip you to think and discern fact from fiction, truths from partial truths.  From this article out of New York, we can say that COVID-19 debuted earlier, it is widespread, and that we are unlikely to tame this little monster any time soon.


Original Article:

Daniel Stadlbauer, Jessica Tan, Kaijun Jiang, Matthew M. Hernandez, Shelcie Fabre, Fatima Amanat, Catherine Teo, Guha Asthagiri Arunkumar, Meagan McMahon, Christina Capuano, Kathryn Twyman, Jeffrey Jhang, Michael D. Nowak, Viviana Simon, Emilia Mia Sordillo, Harm van Bakel, Florian Krammer. Repeated cross-sectional sero-monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in New York City. Nature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2912-6


Thanks to Science Daily:

The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Study finds 1.7 million New Yorkers have been infected with SARS-Cov-2 and virus was in NYC earlier than reported.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 November 2020. <>.



Other links:

Matthew T Maurano, Sitharam Ramaswami, Paul Zappile, Dacia Dimartino, Ludovic Boytard, André M. Ribeiro-dos-Santos, Nicholas A. Vulpescu, Gael Westby, Guomiao Shen, Xiaojun Feng, Megan S. Hogan, Manon Ragonnet-Cronin, Lily Geidelberg, Christian Marier, Peter Meyn, Yutong Zhang, John A. Cadley, Raquel Ordoñez, Raven Luther, Emily Huang, Emily Guzman, Carolina Arguelles-Grande, Kimon V. Argyropoulos, Margaret Black, Antonio Serrano, Melissa E. Call, Min Jae Kim, Brendan Belovarac, Tatyana Gindin, Andrew Lytle, Jared Pinnell, Theodore Vougiouklakis, John Chen, Lawrence H. Lin, Amy Rapkiewicz, Vanessa Raabe, Marie I. Samanovic, George Jour, Iman Osman, Maria Aguero-Rosenfeld, Mark J. Mulligan, Erik M. Volz, Paolo Cotzia, Matija Snuderl, Adriana Heguy. Sequencing identifies multiple early introductions of SARS-CoV-2 to the New York City Region. Genome Research, 2020; gr.266676.120 DOI: 10.1101/gr.266676.120

Wenjuan Zhang, John Paul Govindavari, Brian D. Davis, Stephanie S. Chen, Jong Taek Kim, Jianbo Song, Jean Lopategui, Jasmine T. Plummer, Eric Vail. Analysis of Genomic Characteristics and Transmission Routes of Patients With Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 in Southern California During the Early Stage of the US COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Network Open, 2020; 3 (10): e2024191 DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.24191


Nathaniel S. Barlow, Steven J. Weinstein. Accurate closed-form solution of the SIR epidemic model. Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, 2020; 408: 132540 DOI: 10.1016/j.physd.2020.132540

Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.

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