Did COVID-19 come to the U.S. as early as November or December?

BOSTON — When and where the coronavirus came to the United States can tell us a lot about how to beat it.

“There’s a lot interest in where the virus started so we can prevent again in the future,” said Dr. C. Michael Gibson, a Harvard University professor and doctor at Beth Israel Deaconness.

There’s a consensus the virus started in China, and there are theories it may have come to the U.S. in November and December.

Many on social media have been posting that they had similar symptoms in the fall, and a recent USA Today article addresses this issue head on.

Gibson said that is possible, but not likely.

“Is it probable though? It seems improbable given the terms of the rapid spread since January 21st," Gibson said.

MORE: Market Basket employee dies of COVID-19, company says

Jan. 21 is the date most experts believe the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Washington state. Then, the coronavirus took off.

“This seems to be very infectious. And the odds of it remaining dormant or quiet over a month or two seems very, very low," Gibson said.

He said California should have been hit harder if COVID-19 began back in November.

Dr. Gibson said the only sure way to know “is if we do the antibody test.”

And, if the antibody test is positive, your plasma is valuable and could be used to help a loved one.

“It can’t come soon enough. I hope within the month. We have some of the best researchers here in the world, let’s get this test available,” Gibson said.

The bottom line is, if you had a cough in the fall, Gibson said it was most likely not COVID-19, so keep practicing social distancing to keep you and others safe.

MORE: ‘I was scared I was going to die alone’: Bourne woman recounts terrifying struggle with COVID-19