Study Shows That COVID-19 Could Have Been All Over the World in Late 2019

The coronavirus is a sneaky bastard.

It’s so sneaky that some people don’t even know they have the virus, which presents a huge problem as they can spread it to other people.

It can even survive on certain surfaces for a week, waiting patiently for an unsuspecting victim to welcome it into their system.

Recent reports have suggested that the coronavirus could also be airborne, though whether these droplets in the air are infectious are unknown.

Either way, Covid-19 truly is the ninja of the virus world, and it could have been around much earlier than we thought.

Study Shows That COVID-19 Could Have Been All Over the World in Late 2019

The coronavirus could have been spreading silently all over the world late last year and is now adapting to its human hosts, scientists say.

Scientists at University College London’s (UCL) Genetics Institute came to this conclusion after a genetic analysis of samples from more than 7,500 Covid-19 patients showed almost 200 recurrent genetic mutations of the virus.

This could mean that the virus is evolving as it spreads among people.

Image: Giphy

Why do they think this? Well, most of the global genetic diversity of Covid-19 was found in all of the hardest-hit countries, according to The Straits Times.

Since it takes time for viruses to evolve, this finding suggests that the virus was already being spread extensively across the world from early on in the outbreak.

While the researchers were not able to confirm the exact starting point or location, their findings support the notion that the virus emerged in late 2019.

This means that the zoonotic virus that first jumped from animal to human last year may not be the same virus infecting people today.

Image: Giphy

According to some reports, France’s first Covid-19 case was actually on 27 Dec, nearly a month before France confirmed its first cases.

And China’s first confirmed Covid-19 case has been traced back to 17 November, according to South China Morning Post.

Is This a Good or Bad Thing?

But is this something we should be worried about?

Yes and no.

UCL Professor Francois Balloux, who co-led the research, said all viruses naturally mutate, and these mutations may not necessarily be bad.

“Mutations in themselves are not a bad thing and there is nothing to suggest SARS-CoV-2 is mutating faster or slower than expected,” he said. “So far we cannot say whether Sars-CoV-2 is becoming more or less lethal and contagious.”

However, due to the fact that viruses constantly evolve, a vaccine may not be effective in the future.

“A major challenge to defeating viruses is that a vaccine or drug might no longer be effective if the virus has mutated,” Balloux said. “If we focus our efforts on parts of the virus that are less likely to mutate, we have a better chance of developing drugs that will be effective in the long run.”

Reader: Why do you keep bringing me bad news?

Well, you’ll be able to cut your hair again in five days.

Reader: Do you think haircuts are one of life’s greatest pleasures or something?

Well no, but at least cake stores and confectionaries can open up again, right?

Reader: Bubble tea stores, too?

Uh, no, not yet.

Reader: Why do I keep reading your articles?

Because you have nothing else to do at home?

Reader: That’s it.