Autopsies Reveal Earlier COVID Deaths in Santa Clara County

We’re getting closer to the truth about coronavirus’ earliest arrival in the United States.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that autopsies revealed the presence of coronavirus in two people who died Feb. 6 and 17 in Santa Clara. That means the first known fatality in America occurred almost a month earlier than thought and in an entirely different state. Previously, the first U.S. coronavirus death was thought to have occurred in Kirkland, Washington on Feb. 29.

Experts say the results show coronavirus was in the United States—and in California—longer than previously assumed. It was spreading undetected for an unknown period of time.

Santa Clara Health Officer Sara Cody wasn’t entirely surprised by the findings.

“We did have a very uncomfortable feeling that we were missing cases because we didn’t have the tests to be able to confirm,” Cody told The Washington Post. “This tells us that yes, we were definitely missing cases.”