Former NCIS star Pauley Perrette believes she may have had the coronavirus in December because she had symptoms similar to COVID-19. However, the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S. was not until late January. This weekend, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. since the pandemic began reached 5 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
"So I've been saying for a while I think I had #COVID at the end of last year. Dec. 14," Perrette wrote on Twitter Saturday. "Now that I hear others say that, I'm wondering to people way smarter than me IS THAT POSSIBLE? I had every #COVID symptom, could NOT breathe and thought I was dying. NEVER been sick like that."
The first cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) were reported in Wuhan, China in late December. The first travel-related case in the U.S. was a patient from Washington state who returned to the U.S. from China on Jan. 15, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In May, the CDC released another report noting that the coronavirus may have been spreading in the U.S. as early as late January or early February. In March, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic and President Donald Trump said it was a national emergency.
In April, Patricia Dowd of San Jose, California was identified as the first possible death from the coronavirus. She died on Feb. 6, more than two weeks before a death in Washington on Feb. 29, which was previously considered the first death. Another man in Santa Clara County died from the coronavirus on Feb. 17, according to autopsy results. The deaths led some officials to believe the coronavirus started spreading in Northern California in January.
As of Sunday, the U.S. has the most confirmed coronavirus cases, with over 5 million. More than 162,800 Americans have died from the coronavirus, while 1.64 million Americans have reportedly recovered. Last week, researchers behind the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted deaths could reach almost 300,000 by December. The CDC projects 181,031 deaths by Aug. 29. "We can be way down in November ... if we do things correctly, and if we start right now," Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN Thursday.
Perrette is best known for playing forensic scientist Abby Sciuto for 15 seasons on CBS' NCIS. Last season, she returned to TV to star in CBS' sitcom Broke. The show did not debut until April 2 and was canceled in May, although the 13-episode series finished airing in late June.