Coast-to-coast spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States revealed by genomic epidemiology.

J. R. Fauver
M. E. Petrone
E. B. Hodcroft
K. Shioda
H. Y. Ehrlich
A. G. Watts
C. B. Vogels
A. F. Brito
T. Alpert
A. A. Muyombwe
J. Razeq
R. Downing
N. R. Cheemarla
A. L. Wyllie
C. C. Kalinich
I. Ott
J. Quick
N. J. Loman
K. M. Neugebauer
N. D. Grubaugh

Abstract

Since its emergence and detection in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has spread to nearly every country around the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of infections to date. The virus was first detected in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States in January, 2020, with subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks detected in all 50 states by early March. To uncover the sources of SARS-CoV-2 introductions and patterns of spread within the U.S., we sequenced nine viral genomes from early reported COVID-19 patients in Connecticut. Our phylogenetic analysis places the majority of these genomes with viruses sequenced from Washington state. By coupling our genomic data with domestic and international travel patterns, we show that early SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Connecticut was likely driven by domestic introductions. Moreover, the risk of domestic importation to Connecticut exceeded that of international importation by mid-March regardless of our estimated impacts of federal travel restrictions. This study provides evidence for widespread, sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the U.S. and highlights the critical need for local surveillance.