Cryptic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Washington state

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Science  10 Sep 2020:
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc0523


Following its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late November or early December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has rapidly spread globally. Genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 allows reconstruction of its transmission history, although this is contingent on sampling. We have analyzed 453 SARS-CoV-2 genomes collected between 20 February and 15 March 2020 from infected patients in Washington State, USA. We find that most SARS-CoV-2 infections sampled during this time derive from a single introduction in late January or early February 2020 which subsequently spread locally before active community surveillance was implemented.

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