Report: Travelers who left NYC before lockdown spread second wave of COVID-19 nationwide

by WorldTribune Staff, May 7, 2020

A second wave of coronavirus infections was spread throughout the U.S. by travelers leaving New York City before stay-at-home orders were imposed, according to findings from scientists.

‘We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary (coronavirus) gateway for the rest of the country.’ / Wikimedia Commons

The New York Times reported Thursday that researchers tracking the genetic makeup of the virus now believe that many outbreaks around the U.S. originated in New York City.

Cellphone data analyzed by the Times points to localities around the U.S. experiencing outbreaks after an influx of travelers from New York. Much of the travel began two weeks before New York Mayor Bill de Blasio implemented a stay-at-home order, the newspaper noted.

“We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary gateway for the rest of the country,” said Yale School of Public Health’s Nathan Grubaugh.

Grubaugh estimated that between 60 and 65 percent of U.S. coronavirus cases as of May could be traced back to New York, suggesting that earlier action taken in the nation’s largest city could have prevented the virus from spreading.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statewide lockdown order on March 20.

When questioned about the data, a White House spokesman blasted the news media for supposedly using the issue to criticize President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic, pointing to Trump’s ban on travel from Europe, where the New York outbreak is thought to have originated.

“Just as he acted early on to cut off travel from the source of the virus, President Trump was advised by his health and infectious disease experts that he should cut off travel from Europe — an action he took decisively without delay to save lives while Democrats and the media criticized him and the global health community still did not fully comprehend the level of transmission or spread,” Judd Deere told the Times.

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