Did a form of COVID already sweep through Appalachia?

I know this will be the third active thread about COVID 19, but I feel like it is an interesting enough topic to warrant its own thread.

It is well-documented by now that West Virginia is the final state in the United States without a positive case of SARS-CoV 2. This is fascinating because nearly every bordering state had its first positive case at least a week ago. As of yesterday, March 14th, 39 total people in the state of WV had been tested. 38 tests came back negative, 1 is still pending. You can track this here.

I am unsure what the ratio of positive tests to total tests is but feel as if running 39 tests and getting none back positive despite how contagious this disease is is crazy. Even towns like Morgantown and Huntington that sit right on the borders of two states and have students from other states have yet to have a positive case.

This brings me to my point: did a form of coronavirus already get passed through parts of Appalachia? People got to talking about the lack of cases in West Virginia and brought up this flu season. Supposedly, a doctor said it was unlike anything they had ever seen before. People were showing up with everything that points to having the flu but not testing positive for the flu. People were not getting better because doctors simply did not know how to treat them. Over the summer, I had this upper respiratory thing that took months to get over. I was on an inhaler at one point, went through multiple rounds of antibiotics, and experienced symptoms that I had never once experienced in my entire life with any other sickness but did not have the flu. One doctor was so befuddled she tried to say that it might be the difference in air quality between my hometown of Lewisburg and Huntington, where I go to college. This did not make sense, though, as I had already been in Huntington for nearly three years.

I understand the flu is different every year, and this year's strand might have really been the flu, just one a lot different than previous years. The longer this state goes without positive cases, though, the more curious I get. Would someone who got a different strand of coronavirus be more immune to this strand, or, since they are different strands, does it not matter? I actually do not know, so I would appreciate someone with more knowledge of the topic to inform me. Additionally, WV was the last state to get swine flu back in 2009, but, when it hit, it hit, so it is still entirely possible for COVID 19 to run rampant throughout here. Hospitals in Charleston and Huntington are receiving 300 rapid testing kits each this week, so we should see an uptick in positive cases as I find it hard to believe there are not ANY positive cases out there. I am still just perplexed by the fact that there have not been any yet.

Can anyone else, WV or just Appalachia, attest to this? Am I just bored and trying to create crazy conspiracy theories because I do not have sports to entertain me? Feel free to discuss in the comments!

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


WV just got the test for it a couple days ago. They are the last to confirm a case because they havent been able to confirm a case.

39 people have been tested with none coming back positive. I believe, with the way this thing has spread, that, of 39 cases, at least 1 would be positive.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

It all depends on who they're testing, and even that's tough to look at when there have only been 39 tests in a state of nearly 2 million people - that's not even a drop in the bucket. In VA (pop 8.5mil) we've only tested around 450 people (all of whom had serious enough symptoms to justify using one of the very few tests we have), and of those tests we've only had 45 people with confirmed cases.

Now sure, on the surface that might look like "Ok, so if you tested 450 people and got 45 hits, that means 10% of people should come back positive, right?" The thing is, it's really hard to apply those sorts of percentages when you have an extremely low sample size (less than 50 people tested, in WV's case). It's like if you're in a tough class where the professor gives you the classic "Look to your left/right, one of those people won't be there at the end of this semester" line. Looking at it statistically, they know the class year after year maintains a 2/3 pass to drop ratio...still, that doesn't map onto very small groups - just because 1 out of 3 people will drop out by the end of the class, that doesn't mean that you can look at any group of 3 and correctly predict that 1 of them will be gone. You can easily end up with multiple groups where all 3 people made it to the end, or all 3 dropped out.

So maybe the 39 total tests are just part of a group that was already self isolating, or all lived in a town that actually didn't have any contact with the virus. Maybe 3 of them are next door neighbors to someone that actually does have it, but those neighbors didn't go in to get tested. In order to show that WV is a statistical anomaly, they need to start testing A LOT more to provide a larger sample size. Until they do that, it's all just speculation.

That depends entirely on how many separate infection pockets there are, right? We're not anywhere near 1/39 people in the US having the disease yet (that would be around 8.4 million cases). So if it was a random sampling, that would make total sense. Obviously, it's only sick people getting tested, but there's still normal flu floating around, which shares a lot of symptoms. Could just be that there aren't that many cases there yet.


Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

I think its more of a case of not having proper testing thus far

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

This and the fact that WV is a very isolated rural state with a small amount of tourism. The number of cases in bordering states is already small, so it's not hard to imagine that WV has simply been unaffected so far.

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Jet Sweep

Rational me: It's a lack of testing
Me that was sick from late Oct-late Jan with no answers: Why you gotta make me believe crazy talk?

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

I thought it was crazy at first until multiple people said they had my symptoms with zero explanation. Maybe the flu was just wylin' out this year, or maybe we're onto something.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

I only had flu-like symptoms for 2-3 days. Rest of the time it was like a bad sinus infection. Day one of symptoms it wouldn't have surprised me if I killed over though.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

My wife asked this same question yesterday because a few weeks ago she wound up with the "flu" that tested negative. The doctor said he had no choice but to treat her for the flu because that's what all the symptoms pointed to and put her on Tamiflu. She got over it 100% in the 18-21 day range. All I know is people need to wash their hands more often and stop buying all the toilet paper.

My understanding is the flu tests are dependent on the virus shedding to be detected. Flu A sheds at a different timeframe than Flu B. My son got the flu in December. Had a 100+ fever for a day and half, took him in for strep throat and flu test on a Friday, both came back negative. Went home and over the weekend the fever never went away, took him back Monday morning and he tests positive for Flu B.

They only test for the most common strains they are having problems with that season. So, it's essentially pointless anyway. Test positive: here's your Tamiflu. Test negative, but have all the symptoms: here's your Tamiflu.

If you play it, they will win.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used." -The BoD

They tested for A & B strains both times.

I work with people in many states. Almost every single state we have workers in has at least one person who got flu-like symptoms in January of February. Only one of them was tested during that period and it came back negative. That person lives in Seattle.

The likelihood that even one of the others had Coronavirus before this month is really, really low. I wouldn't make any assumptions about previous illnesses being related. I myself have had two fevers already this year and the timelines just don't add up for Pennsylvania (much as I wish I could assume I've already been through this).

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

This winter has been particularly brutal one with two type of flu hitting folks hard - Type A and B. My newest niece was hit with both flu when she was only 12 weeks old and in daycare. She's still going strong from what pictures I have seen.

For me, I had 3 months straight of coming down a nasty head cold, and I feel like a 4th one is coming. One thing my wife and I have done is adopt a more plant-based diet, greatly reduced (to the point of almost eliminating) red meats. We are drinking herbal tea daily, taking vitamins supplement (Vitamin C with D and B-12 Complex). Finally, I have drinking enormous quantity of water daily, making frequent trip to the toilet to expel waste from drinking so much water! And because this is also during Lent, I have been abstaining from any alcohol beverage except during Mass, but other than that, it is what I have just said.

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

Just dont go to an urgent care and tell them you're peeing 11 times a day.

El. Psy. Kongroo.

LOL. You don't have to worry about that.

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

I have been abstaining from any alcohol beverage

Dude... Do you even Hokie?

It is because it is Lent. :)

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

My man. You put the Christian in Christiansburg

"It's always great to beat UVA, that makes us all smarter and better looking for a couple days".

I don't know what any of this means, but allergy season is kicking my ass!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

I think that there are so many new disease vectors in this country over the past decade or so that year long crud is pretty much the new normal.


All I know is it sounds like our golf trip to Myrtle will likely be called off tomorrow, if we can get our money back. *sigh*

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.


Mid December, my daughter came home from school here in Raleigh with a sickness that ravaged my family. Knocked me on my ass for a couple weeks with a nasty cold that turned into a sinus infection. Had my wife out of commission for about a week, got my parents and aunt/uncle sick for a couple weeks as well (though not as bad as me) and put my grandmother in the hospital. I have never had a reaction to a cold like that, and I don't recall a sickness going through the entire family like that before.

But then again, that was probably one of those 'first winter in preschool' sicknesses we were warned about.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Isnt Coronavirus supposed to be more of a cough/fever than congestion/sinus stuff?

El. Psy. Kongroo.

yes, lower respiratory infection (i.e., lower lung resulting in a dryer cough). sinuses are part of upper respiratory system. but, some cases of coronavirus have reported with nasal congestion (but low percent, I think it was 15% in China, but cant remember exactly where I saw that)

I read that the coronavirus symptoms resemble a colds symptoms more than your typical seasonal flu

We have to be careful with nomenclature.

"Coronavirus" refers to a class of viruses that have the same morphology and genomic structure, but each is different in some way. They typically cause what we call the common cold as they infect the nasal passages.

The virus causing COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) is a specific type of coronavirus that has adapted to move down into the lungs and cause respiratory infection there.

Is it true that this Coronavirus is the 19th type? I heard or read that armadillo naturally carry the Coronavirus.

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

19 because it was discovered in 2019

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

The 19 simply means the year it was discovered. The nomenclature was updated as world health organizations thought it would be promblematic to simply call it the Wuhan Coronavirus.

In terms of how it started, there was some conjecture that it was due to the eating of certain rare animals in local Chinese markets. The Pangolin for example. That hasn't been proven, at least not to my knowledge. But they are a class of scaly anteaters. Genetic testing seems to indicate that while they do carry it, the virus between them and humans only shares about 90.3% of genetic material. Which in terms of the genome, is a universe of difference. Seems more likely that this started from bats.


tbf, I don't think the OP is using the term coronavirus right now to refer to SARS, MERS, or a non-human coronavirus, but point taken.

Also, SARS and MERS were lower respiratory infections too and were similar in symptoms.

So interesting follow-up to this...

Finding out that my BIL's law office in DC was ravaged by a really bad flu in late December, which began when one of their partners came back from a work trip in China. He has some friends who are studying CV-19 for the NIH, and said the symptoms he had at that time are in line with what you'd expect from a mild reaction to CV-19.

Which, my BIL stayed with us over Christmas break, and the nasty cold that I had would align with the typical incubation period for CV-19 if he was the one that passed it to me and my family, and not something my daughter picked up from school.

Soooo... I'm starting to think that this virus has been spreading rampant in the US for a lot longer than the time period everyone is saying right now. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a hefty chunk of the regular flu cases and deaths we've had so far this year might actually have been CV-19 instead.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

It is interesting. The higher likelihood though is that you all had a cold virus like those causing the same symptoms since forever.

"I am probably too rational to be here"

Here's to the Army and Navy and the battles they have won; here's to America's colors, the colors that never run - Wang Chi

May the wings of liberty never lose a feather. - Jack Burton

Man I needed a chuckle!

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

Suddenly West Virginians are the best of all 50 states at personal hygiene. /s

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

I doubt it. I had something similar in November. Had a fever that ranged from 103 to 104; the PA that saw me (my Dr was booked up) thought it was the flu and test came back negative. Its always fun when the PA says "that's a high temperature for someone your age (45)." Finally a few days later she said I may have pneumonia. They did a chest x-ray to confirm and put me on a Z pack which made me feel better fairly quickly. That said, I didn't have any contact outside the US in the preceding couple of months so couldn't be COVID19. Went to the UK in late May early June. So I wouldn't have been exposed to be sick in November.


You had bacterial pneumonia if it reacted to an antibiotic. COVID19 causes viral pneumonia which an antibiotic won't affect.

An interesting caveat to this is the recent studies that hydroxychloroquine (used to treat the parasite behind malaria) and azithromycin (antibiotic) have been used in combination to shorten the duration for covid. How these two medications have effect on a virus, I have no idea

West Virginian by birth, Hokie by choice

While I freely admit I'm no scientist, my guess is the medication inhibit the virus' ability to do further damage.

Malaria is no joke.

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

The virus needs to enter a low-pH environment to begin its replication. Hydroxychloroquine is known to increase lysosomal pH (among other effects) so the current thinking is that it may prevent the virus from ever gaining a foothold in the host cell.

Azithromycin is one I can't explain. It's in a class of drugs that inhibits protein synthesis by binding to the ribosome, so in principle, it could be exploiting what is effectively a side effect - binding to the host (human) ribosome rather than a bacterial one. Normally when this kind of thing happens, the patient has GI upset due to the nonspecific effect. Beyond that, I can't speculate.

Hydroxychloroquine is known to increase lysosomal pH (among other effects) so the current thinking is that it may prevent the virus from ever gaining a foothold in the host cell.

Almost what I said but I find that interesting. If they can help the body increase the pH level, it may help.

My concern would be what will be the side effect?

Who is this Fuentes person that you speak about? -McHokie540

Be careful - it doesn't increase the pH of the body. If you do that, you die.

What the drug does is impair the acidification of lysosomes (organelles within cells that traffic and break down stuff). That's a very targeted effect. Short-term, side effects are generally GI upset. Chronic users (people who take it for years for autoimmune disorders) can face basically anything you've ever heard of as a side effect.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

Hydroxychloroquine is known to increase lysosomal pH (among other effects)
...inhibits protein synthesis by binding to the ribosome,
Beyond that, I can't speculate.

I love TKP and its denizens. No further message.

As I understand it, the chloroquine type drugs have an impact on the ACE2 gauge which this virus uses to gain access to the interior of the host cell.
In addition in increases the ability of the host cell to intake zinc (perhaps a more specific word choice would be to say it alters the ability of the cell to limit zinc absorption) which interferes with the ability of the virus to transfer RNA to the host cell and therefore replicate the virus RNA.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Could the virus cause some forms of bacterial pneumonia in patients? I know certain viruses can cause secondary bacterial infections, possibly due to weakened immune system and the virus making conditions where bacteria can infiltrate and survive. Kind of like when you have a head cold and end up getting a sinus infection because of increased mucous production and inflammation, so bacteria find an environment to take root.

Yes, it can.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

The 'typical' finding on chest xray or CT is a peripheral and basilar (sides and bottom of lungs) infiltrate that is very violent. This blocks the lungs ability to oxygenate the blood and victims can die from asphyxiation and sometimes other organs fail.
That is why we need ventilators to fight this. Lungs dont work so we use a breathing machine. The damage can be so violent that even ventilators dont help. We are also using ECMO (rarely used in adults) which pulls blood out and artificially gives it oxygen and sends it back into the body.
Those are back end, supportive treatments-cat's out of the bag.

Based on the numbers we have, about 5-6% of patients can have co-infections which greatly complicate this entire process.

And those patients at risk for worse cases of covid also are at higher risk for those other infections as well.

The better options are prevention/suppression at a social level.

Studies have show A LOT of younger people have minimal symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus to those more susceptible/unlucky.

So netflix and chill please for awhile as you are likely preventing illness...