Covid ‘almost didn’t happen’ before patient zero sparked ‘perfect storm’

The Daily Star’s FREE newsletter is spectacular! Sign up today for the best stories straight to your inbox

A “perfect storm" of conditions allowed coronavirus to spiral into a global pandemic but almost didn’t happen, a new study claims.

The killer virus caught "a lucky break or two”, according to scientists at the University of Arizona, who say China's cramped conditions helped it spread at rapid speed, The Sun reports.

Michael Worobey, professor of evolutionary biology, explained that Wuhan’s wet market was unlikely to be the birthplace of Covid-19 but was instead where infections soared.

Mr Worobey told CNN: “It was a perfect storm – we know now that it had to catch a lucky break or two to actually firmly become established.

“If things had been just a tiny bit different, if that first person who brought that into the Huanan market had decided to not go that day, or even was too ill to go and just stayed at home, that or other early super-spreading events might not have occurred.

"We may never have even known about it."

Researchers found the first human to have picked up the virus may have done so in October 2019 and only around a dozen others were infected in total, until December.

Mr Worobey added: "What may have happened here was that the virus was sputtering along in a very low number of people in October, November, into December and then it got into this Huanan seafood market."

But what they have not pinned done though is the original location of the outbreak.

The report states: “Even though all of the earliest documented cases of COVID-19 were found in Hubei province, we cannot discount the possibility that the index case initially acquired the virus elsewhere.

“Nonetheless, our dating inference is insensitive to geography.

"Further, our results suggest that if the virus first emerged in a rural community, it would have needed to migrate to an urban setting to avoid extinction.

“The lack of reports of COVID-19 elsewhere in China in November and early-December suggest Hubei province is the location where human-to-human transmission chains were first established.”

  • China
  • Coronavirus

Source: Read Full Article