Coronavirus

Coronavirus found in Brazil sewage samples months before first cases reported

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Researchers studying sewage samples from southern Brazil found remnants of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, as early as last November

This potentially-groundbreaking study could have massive implications for how people all over the world understand the timeline and severity of the virus that causes the disease, COVID-19.

Not only does this suggest that it was present in the Americas at least two months before the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the U.S. state of Washington, it also suggests that the virus was present on the other side of the globe at least a month before its official identification by central Chinese scientists in late December.

This finding implies that officials in the Chinese Communist Party were, at best, unaware of the new virus for at least a month or, at worst, deliberately withheld information from the world on a potentially contagious and deadly virus that had originated within its borders. In conjunction with accounts of Chinese government actions to obfuscate and destroy evidence of the outbreak early on, the truth is likely found in the latter.

The paper is still in pre-print, so it has not yet been peer-reviewed, but the data and conclusion are simple. Researchers describe their processes for detecting RNA, the genetic material of the virus, in various samples of sewage wastewater from the small Brazilian city of Florianopolis taken from October 30, 2019 to early March 2020. 

Researchers noted that, “while samples were negative in the first two sampling events (30th October and 6th November, 2019), all samples in subsequent events were positive (since 27th November, 2019 until 4th March, 2020)” pointing out that “the SARS-CoV-2 load remained constant until early March, then rose coinciding with the onset of COVID-19 cases in Santa Catalina region.”

Interestingly, the study authors note that similar surveys from France, Spain, Holland, Montana, and even Massachusetts show higher concentrations of the virus than expected based on official data of viral spread within each region.

Even in Maine, we saw an anomalous spike in “influenza-like illnesses” reported through the healthcare system in January and February. Data like this should give us pause. Perhaps many of us had been exposed to and contracted COVID-19 well before politicians and state-sponsored scientists told us it was at our doorstep.

This information would have been good to know when we were told—then ordered—to stay inside, close our businesses (which we told were “nonessential”), and keep our children from school in order to “stop the spread,” as if that was possible.

As our understanding of this new virus develops week by week, the predictions and warnings from scientists, past and present, who were ignored by journalists and shadow-banned by social media companies in the fear-drenched days of the spring are beginning to see the light of day.

If we followed our decades-old, science-based understanding of common-sense disease mitigation, we would not have jeered at those who told us to look to natural immunity as the short-term goal while prioritizing protecting the vulnerable. We would not have let the grossly-miscalculated computer models spur us into a frenzy of fear. We would not have let bureaucrats tell us that lockdown was the only option.

About Nick Murray

Nick Murray, of Cornish, currently serves as Policy Analyst with Maine Policy Institute, writing, researching, and bringing Mainers together over the issues facing the state. Previously, he served as Outreach Coordinator, planning events to spread the word about Maine Policy's work to new audiences around Maine.

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