The world might’ve just remembered 365 days since what is believed to be the first recorded case of COVID-19 in China yesterday, but new information has just flipped that whole theory on its head. Now, it turns out COVID-19 was present way before… on the other side of the planet.
According to a study conducted by the National Cancer Insitute of Milan, it turns out that COVID-19 was in Italy way before it spread across the country in February… and indeed way before China’s first believed case of November 2019.
In fact, the study suggests that Italy might’ve had COVID-19 cases all the way back in summer 2019.
An experimental, six-month lung cancer therapy which kicked off back in September 2019 when the whole world wasn’t even aware of the virus, 14% of 959 volunteers were found to have had antibodies to the then-new and unknown coronavirus.
The infection was found in 13 regions of the country, but, as expected, the Lombardy region was already one of the worst hit. Piedmont, Lazio, Tuscany and Venetto also showed signs of infections.
“We knew it didn’t start in China in December, but now a study published in November signed by the director of the National Cancer Institute in Milan, Giovanni Apolone, tells us something completely unexpected,” the scientists noted earlier this week. “SARS-Cov-2 circulated in Italy long before February and probably since the summer of 2019.”
“Since November 2019, many general physicians had begun to report the appearance of severe respiratory symptoms in elderly people with atypical bilateral bronchitis, which, in the absence of news about the new virus, has been associated with aggressive forms of seasonal flu,” it was reported this week.
And while the study does not give a concrete reason for such an early infection in Italy, it has been suggested that COVID-19 was brought in by people who had travelled to or arrived from China in summer 2019.
Of course, this puts serious questions on the official timeline of the virus’ arrival on the planet and its spread, with Beijing’s already-prevalent accusations of hushing up the diseases now getting renewed.
Italy eventually became the first COVID-19 hotspot outside mainland China and has even persisted as one of the worst-hit countries, with 1.24 million cases being found in total and a death toll that has now exceeded 46,000. In Lombardy alone, just under 20,000 COVID-19 patients have died in the last months.
What do you make of this?