A new coronavirus epidemic could start in Wuhan, China, where an outbreak of COVID-19 pneumonia was reported in December 2019. Chinese researchers have come to this conclusion, their findings published in the scientific journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
It turned out that there were many asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus in the city after all those who had the obvious form of infection had recovered. Thus, the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan actually did not end in the spring: the infection could have spread even after all quarantine measures in and around the city were lifted.
Meanwhile, much of the new infections were due to contact between healthy people and asymptomatic carriers of the virus. “Their existence suggests that the less aggressive strains of the coronavirus that were responsible for these cases may re-emerge and cause a new outbreak of COVID-19 in China,” the researchers pointed out.
According to experts, this is how weakened forms of SARS-CoV-2 spread, which cannot cause severe infection and therefore go undetected by health professionals.
In June 2020, authorities in Wuhan said there were no asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus left in the city. By mid-month, no asymptomatic carriers had been identified, and no people who had come into contact with infected people had been placed under observation. Even earlier, the last three COVID-19 survivors had been discharged from hospitals in the city.