Researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) found that the novel Coronavirus started to sweep through the U.S. during Christmas, raising more questions over the Chinese cover-up.
Despite the Chinese government not reporting the outbreak to the World Health Organisation (WHO) until December end, scientists believe that there may have been many cases in Los Angles by the end of 2019, as doctors in California said that they had patients with COVID-19 symptoms in December. The UCLA researchers found a spike in hospital admissions of patients with key COVID-19 symptoms, months before the disease is thought to have hit the U.S.
Even in another study, conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, researchers have estimated that there were thousands of undetected early cases of Coronavirus at the beginning of 2020. The Texas University scientists also said in their study that the first case of SARS-CoV-2 in Seattle may have arrived as far back as the 2019 Christmas.
Spread of Coronavirus: UCLA Study
According to the new study, which came out in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, from December 2019 to February 2020, figures show that there was a 50 percent hike in cases related to respiratory issues during the period compared to the previous five years. This unusual and sudden rise in respiratory cases led the doctors to suspect that the culprit is nonetheless novel Coronavirus infection.
Previously it was thought that the fist Coronavirus caused death was reported in Washington state, a man with no travel history to China died on February 28, before the U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.
The new study analyzed over 10 million patient records between December 1, 2019, and February 29, 2020. The lead author of the UCLA study, Dr. Joann Elmore said that the new findings could help in the identification of future epidemics. She said, "We may never truly know if these excess patients represented early and undetected COVID-19 cases in our area." But the lessons learned from the Coronavirus pandemic, paired with healthcare analytics that allow real-time surveillance of the COVID-19 and its symptoms "can potentially help us identify and track emerging outbreaks and future epidemics."
Dr. Michael Pfeffer, a study co-author, and chief information officer for UCLA Health said that technology, including the artificial intelligence (AI) powered by machine learning, has further helped to identify and track irregular changes in health data. The doctor said, "Including significant excesses of patients with specific disease-type presentations in the weeks or months prior to an outbreak."
COVID-19 and China
Chinese officials said that COVID-19 was first recorded in a Wuhan market but the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been accused of covering it up and silencing whistleblowers. The UCLA study came after the daughter of a U.K. COVID-19 victim, who fell sick in December 2019, said that he and many more could still be alive if Beijing had not covered up the outbreak.
The British woman who lost her father Jane Buckland said that if Xi Jinping's China hadn't lied to the world and kept this [Coronavirus outbreak] hidden for so long, "it could have saved countless lives."