CoViD-19 stands for Corona Virus Disease – year that was discovered, in 2019.
The first case of coronavirus appeared on November 17th, 2019 according to the Chinese Government data and South China Morning Post, indicating that the “patient zero” was a 55-year old man from China’s Hubei province. The newspaper noted that the information is not conclusive since the Chinese government remains tight-lipped.
It took 6 weeks for Chinese officials to report a new strain of virus to the World Health Organization (WHO), on December 31st, 2019.
Several researchers published different timelines for when the first coronavirus patient appeared, spanning from December 1st to December 8th. This only proves that scientists don’t have enough data available from China to positively identify “patient zero”. But, why is this important?
For experts, finding the very first patient who got infected is a race against time. When “patient zero” is known, researchers can determine the areas that have been exposed to the virus the longest giving them the data about the life-span of the virus, the ways of spreading, whether it is prone to mutating and the time when it reaches its peak. As the number of infections increases, it becomes more difficult to identify that person. Without the data available, it all comes down to guessing game.
Doctor Howard Markel, director of the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Michigan said: “If I had to predict, I would say very likely by May or June or July this will burn itself out”.
China’s National Health Commission said it believes the country has passed a peak in infections, more than three months after the first few cropped up. Most other countries are yet to experience their own peak, which would signal the beginning of the end with COVID-19.
In the US, as of this time, 2329 people are infected, 51 have died and 41 recovered. In Europe, Italy has been hit the hardest with 17,660 cases reported and 1,266 deaths.