Corona outbreak began months earlier than China reported, new study suggests

“Our evidence supports other recent work showing that emergence happened before identification at the Huanan Seafood market,” the report said.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Hospital traffic and search engine data in Wuhan, China, indicate that the coronavirus outbreak may have actually begun in the late summer of 2019, much earlier than the officially reported start of the outbreak in December, according to a new Harvard Medical School study.

The study was authored by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Boston University School of Public Health, and Boston Children’s Hospital, and was headed by Prof. John Brownstein.

The researchers used techniques similar to those employed by intelligence agencies to gather evidence on what was actually happening in China.

First, the team analyzed vehicle counts extracted from high-resolution satellite imagery of hospital parking lots in Wuhan. They found that “between September and October 2019, five of the six hospitals show their highest relative daily volume” and this coincided with elevated levels of internet search queries for coronavirus symptoms.

The researchers analyzed search data from China’s Baidu search engine, finding an increase in the number of searches for diarrhea and cough. “In August, we identifed a unique increase in searches for diarrhea which was neither seen in previous flu seasons or mirrored in the cough search data,” the report said.

“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,” the report said, adding, “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.”

This is not the first report to suggest that the coronavirus outbreak began before December 2019.

An intelligence report in May accused China of deliberately covering up the coronavirus threat long before warning the world about it.

According to another report, the U.S. government was alerted to the coronavirus threat in mid-November 2019 and may have shared the information with Israel at that time.