Check out the satellite images below. One shows a hospital car park in Wuhan City, China. It was taken in October 2018.
The other shows the same location almost exactly a year later, in October 2019.
Now see the difference.
Puzzle: There were far more cars in the Hubei women's and children's hospital in 2019. China officially reported a number of cases for the first time on New Year's Eve
This is done by a team of researchers from Harvard and Boston Universities. You've searched over 111 images of medical facilities where the coronavirus pandemic started – and these images seem to be trending.
That said, as of August last year, something made these medical facilities much busier than normal.
This exercise on “digital epidemiology” was released this week and increases suspicion that the virus makes people sick much earlier than previously thought.
China officially reported a number of cases for the first time on New Year's Eve. It later informed the World Health Organization that the earliest symptoms for these patients date back to December 8.
The news spread overseas in mid-January, news reports reported cases in the US on the 21st, France on the 24th and Italy on the 31st.
It was also the day that two Chinese nationals tested positive in York. They were the first confirmed cases in the UK (although they caught Covid-19 overseas). The first uniquely British case was identified on February 6th by scout guide Steve Walsh from Brighton. The first confirmed transmission case in the UK was registered in Surrey on February 28.
However, there are growing claims – not limited to the satellite study – that the coronavirus may have been in circulation much earlier. And scientists in other countries are increasingly showing that Covid-19 appeared earlier than expected on its shores …
Medical staff take a Covid-19 patient in severe and critical condition to the intensive care unit of the Zhongfaxincheng campus at Tongji Hospital in Wuhan
A SUMMER SPIKE IN WUHAN
The "digital epidemiologists" from Harvard and Boston noted an apparent increase in vehicle traffic outside of hospitals in the Chinese city, which was felt at the end of August last year.
The peak traffic seems to have picked up speed during the year. For example, the researchers counted 171 cars parked at Wuhan's Tianyou Hospital in one day in October 2018. On the same day in 2019, there were 285 – an increase of 67 percent.
Things peaked in mid-December when the local outbreak peaked, the researchers say. And the increasing congestion of hospital parking spaces during this period coincided with a significant increase in the number of local Internet users who used the Baidu search engine to look up the terms "cough" and "diarrhea".
In a study released this week, the US team argued that their results "confirm the hypothesis that the virus occurred naturally in southern China and may have been in circulation at the time of the Wuhan cluster," the um Christmas was released.
Face-masked passengers board a plane for China Southern Airlines flight CZ3139, the first passenger flight from Wuhan to Beijing, when the coronavirus restrictions were relaxed
"It was clear that there had been some social disruption long before the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic," said Dr. John Brownstein.
However, not everyone agrees. The study was not reviewed by experts, and although the team was able to examine 111 satellite images, it was impossible to make comparisons in a few days due to the cloud cover.
Critics also believe that the type of medical facilities depicted in some of the images could undermine this thesis, given that there were several children's hospitals. Keith Neal, emeritus professor of infectious diseases at Nottingham University, emphasizes: "The virus simply does not send young people to hospital as often."
But a growing pandemic would likely displace patients elsewhere and increase the burden on all parts of the medical system.
The Chinese Foreign Office has nevertheless declared the study to be "full of flaws" and "grossly contrived" as part of a US conspiracy to "create and deliberately spread disinformation against China".
SPORTSMEN WHO KEEP IN OCTOBER
About 10,000 athletes from more than 100 countries came to Wuhan for nine days last fall to take part in the Military World Games, a kind of Olympic Games for soldiers.
After the pandemic, months later, many of them remembered how they got sick during the October event and had flu-like symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus.
The Spanish Ministry of Defense has announced that at least four of its delegations in Wuhan have become seriously ill. One of them said to the El Mundo newspaper: "The authorities simply saw it as a sore throat or flu infection and treated us as if we were already cured."
Some members of the French team then made similar reports.
Elodie Clouvel, a modern pentathlete, said in a television interview: “We were in Wuhan at the end of October and then we all got sick. Valentin (Belaud, her partner, also a pentathlete) missed three training days. I was sick too … I think we already had the corona virus. "
Elodie Clouvel, pictured, a modern, modern pentathlete, said in a television interview: "We were in Wuhan at the end of October and then we all got sick."
German volleyball player Jacqueline Brock remembered: “Some of my team's athletes got sick. I've been sick for the past two days. I've never felt so sick – either it was a very bad cold or Covid-19. "
And an Italian fencer, Matteo Tagliariol, gave an interview claiming that all six residents of his official apartment in the city had symptoms similar to those of the virus.
Catching something that looks like Covid-19 is of course not the same as actually contracting it. And six weeks after the athletes made their claims for the first time, none of them seem to have tested positive for the antibodies one would expect from a real survivor.
CASES & # 39; CONFIRMED & # 39; AFTER A SINGLE DAY
China's authorities have made the crisis public on New Year's Eve and insist that the earliest recorded case data is December 8th.
Secret government data released to the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, however, indicate that the outbreak started almost a month earlier.
Newspaper records indicate that the first confirmed case can be traced back to November 17, less than a week after Singles Day, a holiday traditionally used by young men and women to find a partner .
"A 55-year-old from Hubei Province (the region in which Wuhan is located) may have been the first to sign Covid," the newspaper said in March.
From this date, one to five new cases were reported daily. By December 15, the total number of infections was 27. The first double-digit daily increase was reported on December 17, and by December 20, the total number of confirmed cases had reached 60. "
By the end of December, at least 266 people had been infected, the report said, stressing that out of the first nine cases identified in November – four men and five women between the ages of 39 and 79 – none were confirmed as "patient zero" has been. . So it is possible that other previously unidentified cases go back even further.
Even if this is the case, it does not necessarily follow that an outbreak was covered up in November. Although the disease may have been circulating at this point, whistleblowers in the Chinese medical community say that doctors didn't find out until mid-December that they were dealing with a new disease.
SUSPECT FRENCH X-RAYS
French scientists looking for their country's patient zero have found evidence that the coronavirus may have arrived in Europe by the time it spread to Hubei.
Dr. Michel Schmitt from the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Colmar in north-eastern France is leading a research team that will examine thousands of chest X-rays in late 2019. So far, two scans have been identified that match the symptoms of Covid-19 from mid-November.
The images show white shadows on the lungs of patients of a type typical for the coronavirus.
University graduates introduced themselves to taking their blood samples during the coronavirus pandemic before entering campus to get their diplomas in Wuhan
"The first case was noted in our center on November 16," Schmitt said in a press release. The other was taken two days later.
Using the same method, the Schmitt team identified 12 probable coronavirus cases in December and 16 cases in January.
The team's results were announced in May, shortly after another French doctor, Dr. Yves Cohen, head of emergency medicine at two hospitals near Paris, announced that he had found a positive test for coronavirus there as of December 27.
The team of Dr. Cohen again tested blood samples from 24 patients suspected of having flu. His results seem to confirm that the virus was in France weeks before its official release on January 24th.
It is now assumed that other European countries are examining similar evidence because of the suspicion that the outbreak in Italy in particular started much earlier than originally thought.
BRITISH EXPAT FELL ILL IN NOVEMBER
Connor Reed, a 25-year-old from Llandudno in North Wales, was the first Briton to be confirmed to have caught the corona virus.
The expat teacher who worked at a school in Wuhan remembered getting sick on November 25 when he woke up and felt really bad. I coughed a lot and lost my voice. "
First, he attributed his symptoms to a moor-standard cold. In the following days, however, he developed an apparently severe flu and had to stop working in early December. His illness, along with other classic Covid 19 symptoms, developed into pneumonia.
After recovering later this month, Reed said his doctors had confirmed that he had coronavirus. In theory, this means that he became ill long before the Chinese authorities accepted that the outbreak began. However, it is possible that he caught a cold two weeks before being infected with the virus.
A general overview of the night market on June 10th in Wuhan, Hubei Province. Wuhan has seen urban life gradually return to normal, encouraged by local city management
Another Brit who may have been infected in Wuhan at about the same time was Andy Gill, lead guitarist for the band Gang Of Four, who died in February after visiting the city on a November tour of Asia.
His widow, author Catherine Mayer, said in a blog entry that Gill was hospitalized in the UK in January after suffering from “respiratory illness”. The cause of death is officially listed as pneumonia and organ failure.
When Mayer wrote on her website, she found that Gill had suffered from several symptoms of Covid-19, including lack of oxygen, lethargy, and decreased appetite. One of Gill's doctors said there was "a real possibility that Andy was infected with SARS-CoV-2".
Although the tests were negative, this was not a definitive answer, the specialist said. "When Andy was hospitalized, he had been sick for weeks," she wrote. "The virus could have left his body, but triggered immune complications."
DECEMBER – US victims in hospital
The first US case of Covid-19 was announced on January 21 in Snohomish County, north of Seattle, when a man who had recently traveled to Wuhan fell ill.
However, it recently emerged that two other locals who fell ill in December also tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, suggesting that the disease may have occurred in America a month earlier than before.
A victim, a woman identified only by her middle name, Jean, told the Seattle Times that shortly after Christmas she became uncomfortable with a dry cough, fever, and body ache. She made two trips to the doctor and was so uncomfortable that she received chest X-rays and a prescription for an inhaled medication.
A medic holds a test tube with a blood sample during an antibody test program at the West Midlands Ambulance Service's Hollymoor Ambulance Hub
At that time, Covid-19 had not been officially discovered or named, so it has not been tested. Her recent positive antibody test result is not definitive evidence that she had Covid-19 in December, as it does not show when she was infected. But officials say a second local who reported similar symptoms at the time also tested positive.
"The number of flights to and from Wuhan was enormous, probably thousands and thousands of people," said Dr. Art Reingold, epidemiologist for public health at the University of California at Berkeley, told reporters. "It follows that there may have been multiple launches worldwide, possibly in December."
UK SKIER & # 39; INFECTED ON NEW YEAR TRIP & # 39;
The availability of antibody tests is now increasingly indicating that Covid-19 entered the UK shortly after Christmas. This week, a London art director who fell ill on January 6 after returning from a skiing holiday in Austria got a positive result.
Susannah Ford, 53, said she was convinced that she caught it at the Obergurgl Resort, which is less than eight miles from the Italian border and 65 miles from Ischgl.
"I felt like death," she told the Sunday Times. "I had terrible pain in every muscle and joint for five days, and I was too light-headed to go to the poetry Eliot price at all."
Of course, her test result does not indicate when she got the disease, so she could have become infected later (even though she had no symptoms).
Much of this obvious evidence is anecdotal. Many British people believe that they suffered from Covid-19 at Christmas, and at the time believed that it was only a very bad flu. Aside from Susannah Ford, few have tested positive for antibodies so far.
Professor Sebastian Johnston, respiratory medicine expert at Imperial College London, whose company Virtus Respiratory Research developed a highly sensitive quantitative Covid-19 antibody test, said the mail had so far been used on about a dozen people who had symptoms consistent with it Covid from January and back through December and had the idea that they might have had the virus.
Nobody came back positive.
Johnston does not believe that coronavirus made the rounds much earlier in the UK than official data show. He says: "The first death is a sign that it has reached a fairly widespread community broadcast, and in Britain our death was only on March 5th."
The date of the first confirmed case in the UK remains January 31, and the broadcast was not recorded here until the end of February.
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