Coronavirus Reportedly Found in Wastewater Samples From March 2019

Coronavirus may have been around much longer than initially thought. While the first case of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China was reported at the end of 2019, researchers at the University of Barcelona announced that a study detected traces of COVID-19 in wastewater samples collected back in March 2019.

According to Reuters, frozen sewage samples were sampled and the only sample to test positive was from March 12, 2019. However, the lead researcher, Albert Bosch, says that the levels of the virus were low.

“Barcelona receives many visitors for both touristic and professional reasons,” Bosch said. “It is possible for a similar situation to have taken place in other parts of the world, and since most of the COVID-19 cases show a similar symptomatology to the flu, those cases could have been disguised as the flu.”

The data will undergo further testing.

The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).

The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.

While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 126,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.

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