Coronavirus could have been rampant in Wuhan at least three months before the Chinese government has acknowledged, according to leaked hospital files.
Medical records from the city reveal patients with a new, mysterious form of pneumonia were being treated at eight hospitals between late September and the beginning of December 2019.
The records show that 40 patients were treated with this previously unseen illness, which bore symptoms resembling those of Covid-19. Of those, at least eight died in hospital, the files reveal.
Coronavirus could have been rampant in Wuhan at least three months before the Chinese government has acknowledged, according to leaked hospital files. Pictured: People wearing masks in Wuhan
If, as some experts believe, these were early coronavirus cases, it would contradict the official Chinese government account of when the disease started.
Beijing maintains that a ‘cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause’ first appeared on December 31, 2019, in Wuhan. The Chinese government officially declared the disease as a new coronavirus outbreak to the World Health Organisation on January 9 last year.
But the hospital records show the outbreak could have begun as early as September 25, 2019. Had the Chinese authorities responded quickly, say critics, the global pandemic that has killed 1.9 million people so far may have been prevented.
The records were obtained by the Epoch Times, an American-based Chinese newspaper linked to the persecuted Falun Gong religious sect in China. They show that the first patient to be treated for the new unexplained pneumonia at the Wuhan Puren Riverside Hospital was called Xiao Xgui, one of ten people cared for there until the start of December 2019.
Beijing maintains that a ‘cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause’ first appeared on December 31, 2019, in Wuhan. Pictured: A staff member speaks about the precautions before having the Covid-19 vaccine in the Chaoyang District, Beijing
Another general hospital, Wuhan Yaxin, treated ten patients with a similar pneumonia, mostly in October 2019.
The Wuhan Sixth Hospital, one of the main medical facilities in the city, recorded five deaths from the new pneumonia, with three dying in November and early December that year. One patient, Xu Xgan, became ill on October 1 and died on November 3, according to records. He was first treated at the Wuhan Central Hospital, where he was given an anti-infection treatment, before being brought to the Sixth.
The Wuhan Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in Hankou District, also reported three deaths of patients from a similar unexplained pneumonia in October and November 2019. The city’s Eighth Hospital also recorded cases in the same period.
Last night, the Epoch Times, which is a controversial paper fiercely critical of the Chinese regime, could not be contacted. But experts who have studied the files said they appear to be authentic.
Gilles Demaneuf, a French data scientist who works with a group investigating the origins of Covid-19, said that ‘the Epoch Times findings are credible’.
But he added: ‘Suspected cases [of Covid-19] do not mean confirmed cases, and should not be construed as such.’
The respected South China Morning Post, based in Hong Kong, also published a similar investigation last year, saying it had obtained medical records that showed patients were falling ill with the virus in November 2019.
It said nine cases – four men and five women aged between 39 and 79 – fell ill with a disease similar to Covid-19 in and around Wuhan.