The COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc all over the globe, may have actually started much earlier than currently thought.
A study carried out by Harvard Medical School has flagged some evidence that implies the deadly disease started infecting people and circulating in Wuhan in August 2019, several months before China officially acknowledged its outbreak in the city.
On this basis, they suggested COVID-19 started spreading earlier
On the basis of increased hospital visits and searches for COVID-19 symptoms, the researchers suggested that the coronavirus might have started spreading sometime around August 2019 or 4-5 months earlier than it was officially reported to WHO.
"It sort of adds to a growing body of evidence that something was happening ahead of when it was officially recognized," Brownstein added.
That said, it must be noted that these pieces of evidence do not confirm that the virus certainly emerged in August 2019.
The researchers also noted in their study that they "cannot confirm if the increased volume was directly related to the new virus, [but] our evidence supports other recent work showing that emergence happened before identification at the Huanan Seafood market."