The covid-19 pandemic may have a new start date stipulated. At least that’s what a survey conducted by a scientist at the University of Arizona, in the United States, points out. According to the investigation, the first case actually occurred days later than previously believed. The results were reported in the scientific journal Science.
The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report that stated that the first victim was a 41-year-old man, who would have fallen ill on December 8, 2019. The strange incidence of cases near an animal market in the Wuhan region , virologist Michael Worobey, who signed the article, decided to gather data from newspapers, public information from hospitals, among others, to start his investigation.
He found that instead of a man who had never been in business, the first case of the disease is related to a local seller. Worobey was part of a team of more than 15 experts who asked, in a letter, to consider the hypothesis of a leak in a laboratory in Wuhan.
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Dates do not match
Worobey wrote that his research “provides strong evidence in favor of the pandemic’s origins from a live animal” in this market. That’s because he reviewed documents from two hospitals that reported symptoms before the official warning was issued.
The virologist was able to track how the first 20 covid-19 patients at three hospitals in Wuhan were diagnosed. In the article, he points out that doctors identified the disease based on symptoms, mainly on computed tomography scans of the lungs, regardless of contact with the region.
Analysis of the documents shows that nine of them were market workers, while one patient had not visited the store, but had friends who worked there.
to the newspaper The New York Times (NYT), the researcher pointed out that in a city of 11 million inhabitants, half of the first cases are related to a location the size of a football field. “It is very difficult to explain this trend if the epidemic has not started in this market,” he said.
The WHO report stated that, so far, the first patient had been sick since 8 December. But in fact, he had no symptoms until Dec. 16, according to the researcher. Thus, following the timeline traced by the virologist, the first known patient becomes a woman who fell ill on December 11—a market seller.
Peter Daszak, who was among the experts sent by the organization to Wuhan in January 2021, told the NYT that “the December 8 date was a mistake.”
Notification of first symptoms
The study that looked at the change in the virus’s genome, with the help of Worobey, suggests that the first case of SARS-CoV-2 occurred in mid-November 2019, weeks before the seller (screened by WHO) became ill.
To The Wall Street Journal, the woman who manifested the first symptoms, said she started to feel sick on December 10th. Later that month, Chinese authorities warned doctors to be on the lookout for cases linked to the Wuhan market.
Linfa Wang, director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at Duke-National University Singapore, said a wildlife trader who has been exposed to a vector of SARS-CoV-2, be it a bat or another animal, is very likely. brought the coronavirus to the region.