- According to a Harvard Medical School study, new data suggests that the novel coronavirus may have started to hit Wuhan as early as August 2019.
- Dr John Brownstein said satellite images of five Wuhan hospital parking lots showed a noticeable increase in volume, months before the outbreak.
- Internet searches on “cough” and “diarrhea” also grew during the same period.
While China continues to stand by their statement that the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan in December 2019, a new study conducted by the Harvard Medical School is now contradicting that. According to researchers, the new virus may have started spreading as early as August.
The study, led by Dr John Brownstein, gathered information from satellite images and internet searches and the researchers are convinced hat the disease probably began much earlier than reported.
First off, satellite photos reveal that five hospitals in Wuhan had as much as 90% increase in parked cars during late summer and fall of 2019 compared with the previous year.
This suggests that more people visited medical facilities during the period, most likely to seek professional help.
Next, internet searches on Baidu, Google’s equivalent in China, likewise showed a spike in “diarrhea” and “cough,” both symptoms of the coronavirus, months before the country officially made an announcement about the disease.
The satellite images and Baidu searches seem to be linked with each other, according to researchers.
As Brownstein and his group tells us:
“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.
“These findings also corroborate the hypothesis that the virus emerged naturally in southern China and was potentially already circulating at the time of the Wuhan cluster.”
Watch this video report by ABC News:
Meanwhile, Chinese authorities were quick to dismiss the group’s findings.
In a media brieifing, Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said:
“I think it is ridiculous, incredibly ridiculous, to come up with this conclusion based on superficial observations such as traffic volume.”