According to a new study by Harvard Medical University, satellite images of hospital parking lots in Wuhan as well as internet search trends suggest that corona virus has been spreading in China since early August. last year.
Specifically, the study found that the number of cars in parking lots was significantly higher at five hospitals in Wuhan in late summer and autumn 2019 than in 2018. At the same time, there was an increase in in keyword search related to infectious diseases on China’s Baidu search engine.
Dr John Brownstein, who led the research, said the scientists had noticed “the number of strong tanks starting in August 2019 and peaking in December”.
Using images from October 2018, they counted 171 cars in the parking lot at Tianyou, one of the largest hospitals in Wuhan. Satellite data a year later showed that 285 vehicles were parked in the same place, an increase of 67% and a 90% increase in traffic at the same time in other hospitals.
Vehicle parking data at Tianyou Hospital in October 2018 and 2019.
Individual hospitals recorded a relatively high volume of parking in the fall and winter of 2019. However, from September to October 2019, 5 of the 6 hospitals showed the highest daily volume, coincident with the time Baidu’s search level skyrocketed with the words “diarrhea” and “cough”.
Brownstein told CNN: “The data helps us detect an increase in people seeking gastrointestinal diseases, specifically diarrhea, to an unprecedented high level. Now, we know that this is are symptoms of Covid-19. A large proportion of people who are positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan actually have symptoms of diarrhea. ”
Data on Zhongnan Hospital.
He added: “Last year, we found that Latin American hospitals were very busy during the flu season. You can really predict the flu season just by looking at the parking lot. Ideas for this study with Covid-19.
At this time, we are still unable to clearly show what led to some of these signs, but it adds to the evidence that something happened before the pandemic was officially recognized.
Although we have not yet confirmed whether the increase is directly related to Covid-19, our evidence has supported another recent work that the virus appeared before it was discovered at the seafood market. Huanan. The new data also corroborates the hypothesis that the corona virus appears naturally in southern China and may have spread at the same time as the Wuhan outbreak.
We often miss the early signs of a pandemic. If the same thing happens in the US, it’s likely that the signals will be ignored. So I think we need to increase public health efforts and strengthen public health surveillance. ”
According to statistics from Johns Hopkins University, as of June 9, the world recorded more than 7 million people infected with SARS-CoV-2 and more than 404,000 deaths. In particular, the United States is still the leading country with more than 1.9 million people infected and more than 111,000 deaths.
According to CNN