America’s first case of Covid-19 was January 15th, right? Well, there has been new information that has come to light that might make you believe otherwise. Researchers went back to blood samples from the American Red Cross that were donated back in December of 2019 and tested them for antibodies. At least 84 of the samples came back positive. This would mean that there were people infected with this virus long before we knew it had reached America. With Covid-19 and the flu having an abundance of the same symptoms such as fever, sore throat, body aches, cough, those who had the virus back in 2019 might have just assumed it was simply the flu. Another reason no one knew it was already in America is because the coronavirus test was nonexistent at that time, so even if someone wanted to get tested for it there was no way to do so.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the timeline on someone whose blood has tested positive for the antibodies. All this test can show is that you had the virus at some point in the past few months. There still isn’t confirmed data reported on how long the antibodies last as it differs on a case-by-case basis. There is also no way to track where people were originally infected by the virus, whether it was somewhere abroad or in America.

Researchers believe that this new information could mean that thousands of more people could have been positive with the virus before we started mass testing in March and that if we could track all of the cases, the number of deaths from Covid-19 in America could rise. The researchers said they are going to start looking into blood tests from years past and compare the results of which antibodies they have in order to determine the specific strain that is present in the tests from December.

Back in April, when most of the nation was experiencing the first wave of symptoms, some Americans were taking to the internet claiming they had the novel virus back in December. Most reported similar symptoms and having tested negative for flu, mono, or strep. Many national news publications wrote about these claims stating that it cannot be possible because the first case was not until late January. With the new findings of antibodies in Red Cross samples, however, these previously dismissed claims may have been true and the virus may have been present in America in 2019.