November 19. The first case of COVID-19 identified in Wuhan, China and presented as such by the World Health Organization was actually days later than previously believed and at an animal market, a top scientist said in the journal Science Thursday.
Rather than the original patient being a man who had never been to the Wuhan market where wild and domestic animals were sold, the first known case of COVID-19 turns out to have been a woman who had worked in the market, virologist Michael Worobey wrote.
For Worobey, that key piece of information, and his analysis of other early cases of COVID-19 in the city, clearly tip the scales towards the virus having originated in an animal.
With no definitive evidence, debate has raged among experts since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago over the origin of the virus.
“In this city of 11 million people, half of the early cases are linked to a place that’s the size of a soccer field,” Worobey told the New York Times. “It becomes very difficult to explain that pattern if the outbreak didn’t start at the market.”