Experts have suggested that coronavirus appeared in Wuhan already in August 2019
COVID-19 could begin to spread in China last August, according to experts at Harvard Medical School, Boston University of Public Health and the Boston Children's Hospital in the United States, who analyzed satellite images of hospital parking in Wuhan from January 9, 2018 to April 30, 2020.
The study participants drew attention to the “sharp increase” in transport in parking lots in front of hospitals since August 2019. At the same time, the largest number of cars was recorded in December.
Along with the analysis of photo parking lots, scientists evaluated the history of search queries in the Baidu system. As a result, they found that three weeks before the officially confirmed cases of COVID-19 appeared, users actively began to search the Internet for topics related to the words “cough” and “diarrhea”.
“This data is actually particularly convincing because we have seen an increase in the number of people looking for gastrointestinal disease-diarrhea (...) and now we know that gastrointestinal symptoms are a really important marker for COVID-19,” reports "Interfax" words of the innovative director of the Boston Children's hospital John Braunstein.
He noted that it was impossible to confirm whether the increase in the number of vehicles in parking lots in front of medical facilities was associated with the new coronavirus, however, “the data confirm other recent work showing that the appearance of (coronavirus) occurred before the identification of the Huanan seafood market”.
“These data also confirm the hypothesis that the virus arose naturally in southern China and potentially already circulated during the emergence of the Wuhan cluster”, Braunstein said.
Recall also that in 2018 it was a breakthrough study of young Wuhan scientists at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan. Researchers studied the immune mechanisms of bats, allowing them to be carriers of viruses for a long time, but not to hurt themselves. In April 2018, an article by the 35-year-old Wuhan scientist Zhou Peng was published on the website of the scientific journal Nature, which spoke about the results of studies in which a coronavirus was found in the body of bats. In the research results, coronavirus was called the causative agent of a deadly epidemic - but not pneumonia in humans, but diarrhea in piglets.
Since the start of the coronavirus epidemic, more than seven million people have been infected worldwide. More than 406 thousand of those infected died from the disease.