Studies: Hundreds of Thousands Infected With COVID-19 in Wuhan in 2020; Patient Zero Emerged October 2019

March 20, 2021 Updated: March 23, 2021

As many as 968,800 people in Wuhan, China, had developed antibodies to COVID-19 by April 2020, while the first case appears to have emerged between mid-October and mid-November in 2019, according to two new studies.

An estimated 6·9 percent “of a cross-sectional sample of the population of Wuhan developed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, with 39·8 percent of this population seroconverting to have neutralising antibodies,” a China-based research group wrote in an article published in The Lancet on March 18.

“Our results define the period between mid-October and mid-November 2019 as the plausible interval when the first case of SARS-CoV-2 emerged in Hubei Province,” a U.S.-based research group wrote in an article published in the online issue of Science magazine on March 18.

The results of both research groups revealed data that differ from the Chinese regime’s disclosures.

The Chinese regime recognizes the first COVID-19 case as occurring on Dec. 31, 2019, while confirming human-to-human transmission of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, on Jan. 20, 2020. The regime finalized the number of infections in Wuhan on April 17, 2020, saying a total of 50,333 people had been infected, which is less than 10 percent of the analyzed figure.

In the past few months, multiple countries have criticized the regime in Beijing for its initial mishandling of the CCP virus and subsequent underreporting of the outbreak, leading to the spread of the virus internationally.

The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus
The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China, is seen in an illustration released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, on Jan. 29, 2020. (Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC/Handout via Reuters)

Infection Count

Thirty authors from China co-researched the status of the CCP virus infection in Wuhan for the Lancet study.

The research is based on data from 9,542 people who live in 100 communities throughout Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province and ground zero of the CCP virus outbreak. Blood samples were collected on April 14 and 15, 2020.

The result showed that 6.92 percent of the population had been infected with the CCP virus, with 82.1 percent of the infected ones being asymptomatic carriers. Among the infected group, 39.8 percent of them had neutralizing antibodies in their blood, which meant they were immune to the CCP virus after being infected.

In January 2020, about 5 million residents escaped Wuhan, which has a population of 14 million, ahead of a Jan. 23 travel ban. Based on an infection rate of 6.92 percent of the population, 622,800 to 968,800 people could have been infected with the CCP virus by April 2020.

People who lived in Wuhan in April 2020 were survivors of the city’s epidemic, which peaked in January and February 2020. There’s a possibility the people who left the city in January had COVID-19, since the Science magazine study estimates that the first case likely emerged in October 2019.

computer image of a betacoronavirus
A computer image created by Nexu Science Communication together with Trinity College in Dublin, shows a model structurally representative of a betacoronavirus, the type of virus linked to the Wuhan COVID-19 outbreak, shared with Reuters on Feb. 18, 2020. (NEXU Science Communication/via Reuters)

First Case

Researchers at the University of California–San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues at the University of Arizona and Illumina Inc., published the Science magazine study about the world’s first possible COVID-19 case, studied through molecular dating tools and epidemiological simulations.

The study points out that the CCP virus is a zoonotic coronavirus, meaning it’s transmitted to humans from an unknown animal host. But based on over a dozen studies conducted by the researchers in the past year, it’s unlikely that the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan—which the Chinese regime claims was ground zero—is the venue where the animal transmitted the virus to humans.

“We used Bayesian phylodynamics to reconstruct the underlying coalescent processes,” the researchers explained, saying they analyzed 583 CCP virus complete genomes that were sampled in China.

Combining the CCP virus’s genetic diversity study with the earliest reported cases and other study’s results about the spread of the CCP virus in Wuhan before the lockdown on Jan. 23, 2020, the researchers estimate that the first COVID-19 case emerged as early as October 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO), as well as scientists from several countries, are investigating the origin of the virus. To understand the environment better, WHO sent a team to China, which conducted its research in February; the team hasn’t yet released its report.