A scientist in Seattle is helping public health authorities understand and track the new coronavirus, turning up clues about how it arrived and spread through Washington state and beyondBy CARLA K. JOHNSON AP Medical WriterMarch 12, 2020, 12:20 AM5 min readSEATTLE — A U.S. scientist is helping public health authorities understand and track the coronavirus, turning up clues about how it arrived and spread through Washington state and beyond, including potentially seeding an outbreak on the Grand Princess cruise ship. Washington’s governor banned large public events in three counties on Wednesday, a strategy guided by the work of Trevor Bedford and his colleagues, who have estimated there are currently 1,100 active cases in the state, most of them undiscovered by testing. Like a detective studying fingerprints, Bedford uses the genetic code the virus leaves behind. The dots he connects are mutations in the genetic alphabet of the virus, a 30,000-letter string that changes at the rate of one letter every 15 days. Those tiny mutations don’t change the virus’ effect on people, but they do allow scientists to draw conclusions about how it spreads from person to person. After a person gets tested for the virus with nasal and throat


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