Researchers say surge in cars at hospitals may indicate outbreak in fall.
Date: June 8, 2020
By: Kaitlyn Folmer and Josh Margolin
Counting cars: Satellite images suggest coronavirus may have hit China last fallHarvard, BU researchers analyzed images that show hospital parking lots busier than usual.
Dramatic spikes in auto traffic around major hospitals in Wuhan last fall suggest the novel coronavirus may have been present and spreading through central China long before the outbreak was first reported to the world, according to a new Harvard Medical School study.
Using techniques similar to those employed by intelligence agencies, the research team behind the study analyzed commercial satellite imagery and "observed a dramatic increase in hospital traffic outside five major Wuhan hospitals beginning late summer and early fall 2019," according to Dr. John Brownstein, the Harvard Medical professor who led the research.
Brownstein, an ABC News contributor, said the traffic increase also "coincided with" elevated queries on a Chinese internet search for "certain symptoms that would later be determined as closely associated with the novel coronavirus." [FULL STORY]