• Experts said that the COVID-19 outbreak in New York started with travelers from Europe
  • Two separate studies came up with the same conclusions
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the experts are "probably correct"

A new research has claimed that the first COVID-19 cases in New York came from travelers from Europe and not Asia. Experts said that the coronavirus might have been spreading undetected in the state as early as mid-February.

Scientists from two different teams at New York University and the Icahn School of Medicine in Mount Sinai looked into the genomes of 90 patients infected by COVID-19. They came to a similar conclusion that the virus has been circulating in New York before Europe travel restrictions or lockdowns were in place.

President Donald Trump placed a ban on foreigners entering the U.S. from China on Jan. 31 after the state of Washington confirmed the very first coronavirus case in the country on Jan. 19. Wuhan, China’s coronavirus ground zero, was on lockdown in mid-January as well.

The president then imposed the travel ban of foreigners from Europe on March 11, following Italy's massive outbreak.

Scientists were able to trace the origin of virus outbreak in New York from travelers coming from Europe. JESHOOTS-com/Pixabay

By then, however, the scientists were able to trace that four boroughs in New York City have had coronavirus infections similar to the strain circulating from Europe. Apparently, the virus subtly mutated as it was sweeping across the word. From the genomes, only a dozen patients can be linked to Asia.

"The majority is clearly European," Mount Sinai geneticist Dr. Harm van Bakel said. Their study will be published in the journal medRxiv and will still have to undergo a peer review.

Asked about the latest findings, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said in an interview on "Good Morning America" that the scientists are "probably correct."

"The epicenter switched to Europe, particularly northern Italy, and given the air travel from anywhere in Italy, particularly northern Italy, it's just not surprising that unfortunately and inadvertently New York was seeded before they really knew what was going on," Fauci said. "And that is why they are in the difficult situation they are in now."