Timelines associated with the spread of COVID-19 have changed over the past year and, with new information, may change again in the future. There seems to be widespread agreement in publicly available sources that individuals with odd flu-like illnesses were observed in China as early as August 2019. Nothing was publicly confirmed until a 70-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease was diagnosed in late December 2019 in Wuhan. According to the Lancet, which, despite recent irregularities, remains a flagship English-language general medical journal, the symptoms of this first patient presented around December.
Marco Navarro-Genie is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He is co-author, with Barry Cooper, of COVID-19: The Politics of a Pandemic Moral Panic (2020).