On this day: COVID-19 patient zero was reported to be diagnosed in China in 2019

November 17, 2021 marks two years since the first human case of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected, essentially starting the pandemic that has spread around the world and claimed millions of lives, according to reports from local media.

Local newspaper The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported in March 2020 that the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed that day by Chinese authorities, weeks before the existence of COVID-19 was announced to the world. According to this report, which was widely cited by other media though never independently confirmed, the first COVID-19 patient was an unidentified 55-year-old man from China’s Hubei province.
Hubei province is home to the city of Wuhan, where most experts agree that it is the point of origin of the pandemic.

The origin of the pandemic is still highly debated around the world by researchers and politicians. In fact, the November 17 diagnosis has yet to be independently confirmed. However, an origin from November to October seems likely, according to academic articles studying sequenced cases of SARS-CoV-2.

It is unclear exactly how the virus spread and where it originated, although it is widely accepted that it is a zoonotic disease originally found in bats, like many coronaviruses.

A building with a sign for the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) is displayed in Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest hit by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, Hubei province, China, May 15, 2020 ( credit: STRINGER / REUTERS).

A common belief of how the virus began to spread to humans was that it was the result of the Wuhan wet market, although others have accused the Wuhan Institute of Virology of having been involved, although no evidence has yet been conclusively found. concrete that supports this claim. .

Much of the uncertainty regarding the origin of COVID-19 and early cases is due to reports from China being hard to come by, and many have accused Beijing of intentionally covering up the virus at first, as well as censoring information and silence attempts to report wrongdoing. .

What is clear is that in late December, COVID-19 began to rapidly spread throughout China. Soon, it spread throughout the world and was declared a global pandemic.

Two years later, the pandemic has only continued to circulate around the world and has even mutated into several variants. Various treatments and vaccines have been proposed, and some, such as the Pfizer vaccine, are in widespread use around the world.

More than 254 million people worldwide have reportedly been infected with COVID-19, and the disease has also claimed more than five million lives.


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