Beijing: Amid the renewed quest to find the origin of coronavirus, a new study shows that the first cases of COVID-19 infections could have appeared in China between October and mid-November 2019 — earlier than the country’s official record suggests.
According to a study cited by Deutsche Welle (DW), the first cases of COVID-19 could have occurred in China two months earlier than recorded. This revelation comes after the researchers from Britain’s University of Kent used conservation science techniques to approximate that SARS-CoV-2 first appeared from early October to mid-November 2019.
The analysis published in the PLOS Pathogens journal argues that the most likely date for the emergence of the virus that causes COVID-19 was November 17, 2019.
China’s first official case was recorded in December 2019 in Wuhan. The virus outbreak was linked to the city’s Huanan seafood market. However, several researchers have long argued that the infection was spreading between people before it reached the market.
Earlier this week, a US-based think tank RAND had said coronavirus cases in China were likely 37 times higher than that reported by the country’s government in January 2020.
Since the outbreak of a novel coronavirus, several governmental and non-governmental agencies around the world have accused China of opacity regarding the virus and for hiding information.
RAND has published a report after examining the role of commercial air travel in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The think tank has said that there is strong evidence to prove that China’s reported COVID-19 caseload was undercounted by a factor of nearly 40.
“Many people have raised concerns about the accuracy of COVID-19 data from China. In this report, we present strong evidence that China’s reported COVID-19 caseload was undercounted by a factor of nearly 40,” the think tank wrote.
“Based on officially reported cases in China in January 2020, the odds of the novel coronavirus appearing by January 22, 2020, in Japan, Thailand, South Korea, the United States, and Taiwan–as it did–would have been minuscule,” it noted.