Research Article

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe and North America

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Science  10 Sep 2020:
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc8169


Accurate understanding of the global spread of emerging viruses is critically important for public health responses and for anticipating and preventing future outbreaks. Here, we elucidate when, where and how the earliest sustained SARS-CoV-2 transmission networks became established in Europe and North America. Our results suggest that rapid early interventions successfully prevented early introductions of the virus into Germany and the US from taking hold. Other, later introductions of the virus from China to both Italy and to Washington State founded the earliest sustained European and North America transmission networks. Our analyses demonstrate the effectiveness of public health measures in preventing onward transmission and show that intensive testing and contact tracing could have prevented SARS-CoV-2 from becoming established.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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