Are Unusual Animal Phenomena in China Related to Wuhan Coronavirus?

January 30, 2020 Updated: January 30, 2020

Chinese social media users around the country have reported unusual sightings of dense flocks of crows and a mass of giant overwintering mosquitoes, and want to know why such things are happening. Several netizens suggested answers based on ancient Chinese knowledge.

Most of the videos showing flocks of crows are from Yichang, Jingzhou, and Hanchuan, cities in Hubei Province—epicenter of the Wuhan coronavirus. All were videoed and posted on Jan. 28.

In the Hanchuan City video, a large, dense flock of crows was videotaped flying around and cawing loudly. One observer said, “This situation has never occurred before.”

In a similar video from Yichang City, a man exclaimed, “Oh my God, it is said that abnormal scenes predict something unusual is about to happen.”

After those videos were viewed on the internet, netizens from other cities, including Jiaozuo and Puyang, in Hunan Province; and Beijing and Tianjin cities, wrote that they had observed similar phenomena recently.

A netizen from Beijing wrote: “I saw an even larger flock of crows in Beijing’s Haidian district last month. There were at least 1,000 crows.”

Someone from the online community provided a possible answer: “The crow is an eater of carrion. The elderly say that crows seem to anticipate death because they can smell it, even before a person dies. In other words, they can smell the odor of a dying person; but we humans cannot. They will then circle around this person waiting for him to die. That is why in Chinese culture crows are considered inauspicious and are always linked with death.”

Giant Overwintering Mosquitoes

A resident of Beijing noticed a large number of oversized mosquitoes clustered underneath a highway ramp in the city’s Haidian District on Jan. 25.

“This has never been seen before. It is very abnormal indeed. Can a research team in the related field come and examine it?” he asked.

Several other Beijing residents commented that Beijing is very cold in winter and mosquitoes are usually not visible because they hide in unobtrusive places. Adult mosquitoes, like the ones in the video, usually don’t emerge until April.

Some pointed out that ancient wisdom tells us that when there are a large number of overwintering mosquitoes or when they emerge in the early spring, they will likely bring about an outbreak of contagious diseases.

Expert Predicts 1 to 2 Million Deaths

According to a recent research report by Hong Kong’s public health expert Professor Gabriel Matthew Leung, before the lockdown of Wuhan—where the deadly and highly contagious coronavirus originated—there were about 25,000 cases of people with symptoms in the city, and likely 15,000 cases in the virus incubation period. This means the total number of infected people could be roughly 40,000. Based on the spreading pattern, it is estimated that the current number of infected people around the globe is between 25,000 and 38,000.

Prof. Leung is Dean of the University of Hong Kong’s Medical School. He is also a recognized medical doctor and public health authority.

Leung’s report points out that without strong intervention measures in place, the number of infected people will double every 6.2 days, based on a present conservative estimate of 22,000 infected people globally.

Leung estimates that the number of newly infected patients will reach the maximum—about 200,000 per day—in April. In several other cities, including Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, the number will peak in May. In the months that follow, the total number of infected people across the country could reach 18 million, and the total number of deaths would be 1 to 2 million.