Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New research suggests that the coronavirus outbreak in Washington state was likely started by someone who came to the U.S. in mid-February, not by the first confirmed infection in the country, STAT reports.

Why it matters: The research indicates that the U.S. could have been more successful in mitigating community spread of the virus had it acted sooner.

  • Some scientists had originally thought that the outbreak was tied to the first coronavirus patient in the U.S., who traveled from Wuhan to Washington state on Jan. 15.
  • If that had been the case, there would have been little more that could have been done to stop the spread, especially because public health officials had traced his contacts and quarantined them.
  • The upside of the new research is that these efforts were probably successful.

Yes, but: It also means that there was a weeks-long gap between when the virus was first detected in the U.S. and when it began spreading rampantly — a gap that the U.S. failed to take advantage of.

  • "Our finding ... is sobering, since it demonstrates that the window of opportunity to block sustained transmission of the virus stretched all the way until" mid-February, the authors wrote in the paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

The bottom line: "Everything is sort of lining up in the direction that if we're serious about it, we can control this thing," Samuel Scarpino, an assistant professor at Northeastern University's Network Science Institute, told STAT.

  • "We're just not being serious about it."

Go deeper: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," but more data is needed

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 12,772,755 — Total deaths: 566,036 — Total recoveries — 7,030,749Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 3,269,531 — Total deaths: 134,898 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
  3. Politics: Trump wears face mask in public for first time.
  4. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000.
  5. Public health: Trump's coronavirus testing czar says lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table" — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  6. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."
2 hours ago - Health

Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases

Data: Covid Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Florida reported 15,299 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday — a new single-day record for any state, according to its health department.

The big picture: The figure shatters both Florida's previous record of 11,458 new cases and the single-state record of 11,694 set by California last week, according to AP. It also surpasses New York's daily peak of 11,571 new cases in April, and comes just a day after Disney World reopened in Orlando.

Pelosi: Trump is "messing with the health of our children" with push to open schools

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' aggressive push to fully reopen schools this fall is "malfeasance and dereliction of duty," accusing the Trump administration of "messing with the health of our children."

Why it matters: Trump has demanded that schools reopen as part of his efforts to juice the economy by allowing parents to return to work, despite caution from health officials that little is known about how the virus impacts children.