豪赢app-Belleville mayor has coronavirus antibodies
Belleville Mayor Michael Melham said he has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, adding that he believes he was sick with the virus in November — more than a month before doctors in China first reported cases of the new disease.
Melham said he was sick toward the end of November and suffered from chills, hallucinations and a “skyrocketing temperature” after he left the League of Municipalities Conference in Atlantic City.
“It felt as if I was an addict going through withdrawal,” Melham said in a press release. “I didn’t know what was happening to me. I never felt that I could be so sick.”
The first known case of the coronavirus in the United States was in January and involved a West Coast man who had been in China’s Wuhan Province. Health experts now say the coronavirus may have been quietly circulating in the United States in January and February, when testing was rare. None have pushed the timeline back as far as November, however.
In a text message to NorthJersey.com and the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey, Melham said it was the sickest he had ever been in his adult life.
The doctor told Melham he had the flu and that he would get better after rest and fluids, the release said. He did not take a flu test and said he did not travel overseas.
Melham said he later suspected he had contracted the coronavirus in November but dismissed the notion because the earliest cases in the United States weren’t reported until January. His November illness is what prompted Melham to ask his doctor for the blood test. He got the results Wednesday.
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The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 25% of people infected with the coronavirus never develop symptoms.
The mayor said it is entirely possible he was exposed to the coronavirus later and was asymptomatic, but felt it was “highly, highly unlikely.”
“The antibody in my blood is older as opposed to the more recent one showing you just finished fighting it off,” Melham said.
Melham believes he could potentially be an early, undetected case of the coronavirus.
Scientists believe the virus was spreading in New York as early as late January.
New Jersey’s first positive coronavirus case was not reported until March 4. A 32-year-old New York physician assistant with an apartment in Fort Lee developed symptoms March 1 and was admitted to the hospital.
In January, Judith Persichilli, New Jersey’s health commissioner, cautioned that “hospital emergency departments and care centers need to considering other more common diagnoses” that included seasonal respiratory viruses.
The accuracy of antibody testing has also come under question. The tests are intended to detect whether a person has had the coronavirus, and is assumed to be immune. But questions have arisen about the reliability of tests rushed onto the market.
The CDC list of COVID-19 symptoms was updated Monday to include chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and a loss of taste or smell. Previously, the CDC listed just three symptoms: shortness of breath, cough and fever.
Melham urged those who have recovered from the coronavirus and tested positive for antibodies to donate their plasma to help other critical coronavirus patients.
“It is my hope that this antibody testing becomes more readily available,” Melham said. “My doctor only had 10 of these blood tests at his disposal and was willing to give me one because of my daily work with the public. More and more testing is needed so that more and more plasma can be gleaned to hopefully save many lives.”
Kaitlyn Kanzler covers Essex County for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.