Coronavirus likely came to New York from European travel, not Asia, report

The virus was believed to have arrived from Asia, where it started

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: People cross Park Av. after it was announced that some streets will be shut as lockdown continues in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreakon March 27, 2020 in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio chose four streets across four boroughs to test whether shutting down streets to vehicular traffic would increase social distancing among pedestrians during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 27: People cross Park Av. after it was announced that some streets will be shut as lockdown continues in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on March 27, 2020 in New York City.
(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Updated: April 9, 2020 - 1:14pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Two new research reports show that the coronavirus was likely spread by European travel and that the contagion began to spread in the state weeks before the first case was confirmed in mid-February. 

The first confirmed U.S. case was in Washington state, but New York, with Manhattan one of world’s biggest tourist destinations, quickly became the epicenter of the pandemic. 

The separate research by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine was first reported by The New York Times

The findings appear contrary to the general assumption that the virus came to the U.S. from Asian travelers, considering the virus was first detected in China, in late-December 2019. 

The study suggests that as least some of the European travel was from New Yorkers going back and forth. 

President Trump on Jan. 31 banned most travel from China. Meanwhile, European countries didn’t experience major outbreaks until late-February, after which the president put a travel ban on most of those countries. 

The studies purportedly looked at the genetic material of viruses in thousands of patients.

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