First Known COVID Case May Have Occurred from Vendor

It’s an interesting theory, but the author concedes the first human transmission occurred around mid November.

Today there was an interesting report by a leading scientist in virology concluding that the WHO inquiry was wrong. Doctor Michael Worobey a virologist from the University of Arizona noticed there were a few discrepancies in the evolutionary timeline and decided to do a little more investigative work. He interviewed one of the first confirmed patients, Mr. Chen, who stated that he began to feel unwell around December 16th but the WHO report suggests that he was feeling unwell eight days earlier on December 8th. Doctor Worobey’s analysis concludes that the first documented case of the coronavirus did indeed occur at the Huanan Seafood Market, most likely from one of the vendors handling live animals.

The Doctor points to a story from the Wall Street Journal where a vendor reported feeling unwell on December 10th after going to the restroom in the Huanan Market. Although he doesn’t point to her as the first official case he says that it’s very likely she encountered someone else who had the virus before her. While it is indeed a very strong theory there is one drawback to the story, the timing doesn’t match estimated case numbers based on the full genetic sequence of the virus. In fact the author himself helped pushed a story last November stating that it is highly likely the first transmission of the virus occurred around mid-November in 2019.

While his logic around the generalized spread of the virus and identifying clusters around the Huanan Seafood Market is backed up by hospital records who reported dozens of patients of unexplained pneumonia, further research should be conducted to find the first zoonotic origin of the virus. Based on the full genetic sequence and Northeastern University estimates of the virus through specific points in time the initial R-naught between December 11th through Dec 30th would have been between 3.35 and 3.43 putting the initial R-naught between 3.5 and 5. That R-naught is derived from Washington state’s initial outbreak during February and March 2020.

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