Was COVID Present Earlier Than We Thought?


Picture of the COVID Vaccine that is currently undergoing testing and distribution. Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash

Lorelei Zagacki, Writer

Before the uproar of COVID cases within the United States, many Americans were unaware of the detriment it would cause. Many individuals questioned whether COVID had reached the US before it was ever published through the media. Many people began to fall ill within the month of December 2019. Both tests of flu and strep would come back negative. These caused the individuals to believe that they were experiencing a serious cold. Doctors and scientists, and the general public are now much more informed on the symptoms of COVID, and with this greater understanding, many individuals have been led to believe that they had caught this deadly virus before it was said to have been known within the US. 

A poll asking Green Hope High School students if they believed COVID-19 was present before the news and media published the first case in America. 88 students strongly feel that Corona was affecting American citizens before the first case was publicized. 5 students believe that COVID had not reached the United States before it was publicized to the public. I asked for statements from individuals who believed that it was possible COVID existed in the US before being brought to light. A user who would like to remain anonymous stating, “I definitely had COVID in December.” Another user writing “We didn’t screen anyone for COVID prior to the months of March/April, so there is a chance that COVID was in the US before it got a lot of media coverage.” While other students wrote, “the media probably didn’t know about it.” As well as “No one knows the exact time it came here.” Other individuals blame President Trump for the failure in alerting the media by stating, “There have been recordings of President Trump acknowledging it but not taking action”, followed by “Trump took zero action.” 

The possibility of the COVID virus presenting itself in individuals who were sick is possible. Although we were unaware of the possible cases beginning as close to December 2019 we cannot completely blame the media for failing to acknowledge this within this time frame. A well-written statement written by staff writer Maddy Chen quotes, “Writing about a new COVID case would definitely cause alarm; especially when there were so many unknowns about how people were getting it. There’s definitely a lot that goes behind the scenes of any publishing company, so aside from any conspiracies of whether the government/people who were hiding cases, it probably took a while on the writers end to find credible sources and make sure everything published was accurate.” We cannot blame one specific person or news outlet for the lack of publicity of COVID. Regardless of how early the disease started to spread, there is no denying the impact it has on America now. Thankfully, with a vaccine on the way, we may finally see the finish line for the COVID-19 pandemic.