Death rewrites timeline of US COVID-19 outbreak

Patricia Dowd, 57, died in Santa Clara County, California, in February, three weeks before the first documented coronavirus death in the U.S.
2:14 | 04/23/20

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Transcript for Death rewrites timeline of US COVID-19 outbreak
that suggests this virus might have been spreading undetected in several American cities weeks before that first confirmed death. Here's ABC's Kaylee Hartung. Reporter: Tonight, the discovery of an early death rewriting the timeline of the covid outbreak in America. 57-year-old Patricia dowd, seen here, died in Santa Clara county on February 6th, three week bfrs the first documented covid death in the country. There was some significant level of virus circulating in our community in early February and who knows how much earlier. Reporter: California's governor telling coroners statewide to investigate cases as far back as December. New research finds that by March 1st, when the U.S. Had just 23 confirmed cases, hidden outbreaks were spreading undetected in five major cities including Boston, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and New York, according to "The New York Times." The actual number of cases may have been at least 28,000. In Texas tonight, ABC news following Jimmie Hayden's fight with the virus. He was on a ventilator before receiving a plasma donation from someone who had the virus and recovered. Just two weeks later, he's back home. How do you thank someone that truly saved your life? And I can't wait to do my part. Reporter: I need to tell you what I did last night. What? Reporter: I donated plasma. Reporter: After three weeks of dead ends -- a couple of weeks ago, I tested positive for covid-19 -- it was a form I filled out on the red cross website that led them to call me in. In less than an hour -- This is your plasma right here, this is separating. The golden plasma. Somebody's waiting for it. It's ready. Reporter: I just can't believe that I have the ability to do something that could be so helpful. It is brave, and I know your plasma donation, you told us earlier today, will potentially help up to four patients? Reporter: David, that is surreal to hear. And I had to show the results from my original positive Coe vild test, but now the red cross is saying, next week, they plan to use antibody tests to identify even more plasma donors. Thank you, Kaylee. There is new concern tonight from some doctors in what

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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