Speculations abound about how SARS-CoV-2 came to be, but a few studies now raise an important question: Could the coronavirus have been spreading internationally much earlier than December 2019?
New theories and supporting research are gradually emerging as scientists seek to determine exactly when and where the coronavirus emerged.
Recent studies into the spread of the virus have focused on an earlier timeline than initially thought, putting “day zero” as early as late summer 2019.
Previous investigations have raised the possibility of an earlier outbreak. One such investigation is a joint study published by China and the World Health Organization (WHO) at the end of March 2021. The study suggested that there could have been sporadic human infections before the Wuhan outbreak.
Meanwhile, researchers from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom estimate that SARS-CoV-2 emerged on November 17, 2019, and had spread globally by January 2020.