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Satellite images of Wuhan may suggest coronavirus was spreading as early as August

13 lipca 2020, 08:48
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Satellite images of Wuhan may suggest coronavirus was spreading as early as August

Satellite images of hospital parking lots in Wuhan, China, as well as internet search trends, suggest the coronavirus may have been spreading in China as early as last August, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School.To get more news about coronavirus wuhan china, you can visit shine news official website.
The study, which has not yet been peer-viewed, found a significantly higher number of cars in parking lots at five Wuhan hospitals in the late summer and fall of 2019 compared to a year earlier; and an uptick in searches of keywords associated with an infectious disease on China's Baidu search engine.
The reseachers note they can't directly link the traffic volume to the virus; even if there was an increase in traffic to hospitals, it doesn't mean a new virus was the cause. There has been no other evidence to show the virus was circulating in China in the late summer.

The timeline in the new paper suggests signs of the novel coronavirus outbreak emerged well before the currently understood start. The first cases in Wuhan were detected in mid-December, and Chinese officials reported cases of pneumonia to the World Health Organization on December 31. Chinese scientists identified the pathogen as a new strain of coronavirus on January 7.WHO and China have faced criticism, including from President Donald Trump, of their handling of the virus early on.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday she she hadn't seen the research, "but I think it's outrageously absurd if anyone comes to such conclusion only based on superficial elements like the traffic patterns," calling the research methods "hardly watertight."
"There have been so many conspiracy theories against China, which is so unfair," she said. "The most pressing task for the international community at this moment is to do everything to control the spread of the pandemic and save more lives."
In the new paper, researchers saw "a steep increase in volume starting in August 2019 and culminating with a peak in December 2019," the team, led by Boston Children's Hospital Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein, wrote in a preprint posted on Harvard's DASH server.
Using images from October 2018, the researchers counted 171 cars in the parking lots at one of Wuhan's largest hospitals, Tianyou Hospital. Satellite data a year later showed 285 vehicles in the same lots, an increase of 67%, and as much as a 90% increase in traffic during the same time period at other Wuhan hospitals.
"Individual hospitals have days of high relative volume in both fall and winter 2019. However, between September and October 2019, five of the six hospitals show their highest relative daily volume of the analyzed series, coinciding with elevated levels of Baidu search queries for the terms 'diarrhea' and 'cough'," they wrote.
"This is all about trying to piece together a complicated puzzle of what was taking place at the time," Brownstein told CNN.
"The data is actually especially compelling because we saw increases in people searching for gastrointestinal disease -- diarrhea -- which were increasing at a level that we hadn't seen at all, historically, and we now know now that gastrointestinal symptoms are a really important marker for Covid," he added. "A huge percentage of people that actually end up testing positive in Wuhan actually had presented symptoms of diarrhea."
Paul Digard, a professor and chair of virology at University of Edinburgh, told the Science Media Center in the UK that using hospital traffic images to detect disease is "an interesting idea with some validity."
"However, it's important to remember that the data are only correlative and (as the authors admit) cannot identify the cause of the uptick," Digard said. "By focusing on hospitals in Wuhan, the acknowledged epicentre of the outbreak, the study forces the correlation."


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