A Harvard Medical School research involving Sattelite imagery and search engine data tips that the virus outbreak may have started as early as August in Wuhan. However, China dismisses such claims.
Researchers study satellite images of the hospital parking lots in Wuhan where the virus first broke out, and also compared health-related queries on search engines showing searches like “cough” and “diarrhea,” Reuters reports. And it turns out, a spike in the number of people rushing in hospital, as well as an increase in the search of symptoms, is evident in the research, before the documented start of the virus in December 2019.
“We observe an upward trend in hospital traffic and search volume beginning in late Summer and early Fall 2019, the Harvard research on coronavirus notes.
“While we cannot confirm if the increased volume was directly related to the new virus, our evidence supports other recent work showing that emergence happened before identification at the Huanan Seafood market (in Wuhan),” it adds. The study notes their finding adds to the hypothesis that the virus emerged naturally in Southern china and potentially already circulating.
Researchers also note that the query “cough” might coincide with the then flu season in China, nonetheless, the query “diarrhea” is more closely attached to COVID-19.” Hospital car parks were also unusually occupied in August.
However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying dismissed the research by saying: “I think it is ridiculous, incredibly ridiculous, to come up with this conclusion based on superficial observations such as traffic volume,” she said.
According to Johns Hopkins data, there are currently more than 7.1 million active cases globally. Most of the COVID-19 infections are now in the Americas, with the US leading followed by Brazil. India is currently the 5th most-affected nation in the world with more than 200,000 active cases.
Just recently, WHO warned that the Pandemic is far from over to the world that is increasingly looking forward to reopening. In the last 10 days, more than 100,000 cases were documented on June 7th, the highest single-day spike since the virus broke out in Wuhan