As new cases of Covid-19 reach record levels in the United States, there’s new evidence the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease has been with us much longer than previously thought.


Researchers from the University of Barcelona say they detected the virus in sewage samples were collected in the Spanish city on March 12, 2019. That’s several months before the first cases that would lead to the current pandemic were officially identified in Wuhan, China in early December.

巴塞罗那大学的研究人员表示,他们在2019年3月12日收集的城市污水样本中检测到了新冠病毒。这比在12月初中国武汉正式发现首例导致当前大流行的病例早了好几个月 。

It’s previously been reported sewage samples suggested the coronavirus was present in Spain in mid-January of this year, over a month before the first case was confirmed there.


It’s a little odd, to say the least, that the coronavirus popped up only once in Barcelona’s wastewater nearly a year before Spain reported its first cases.


In their summary of their findings, the team makes a point to note the oft-repeated theory that some particularly rough influenza cases that were reported in the months prior to the new coronavirus emerging may have actually been Covid-19 cases.


“Those infected with COVID-19 could have been diagnosed with flu in primary care by mistake, contributing to the community transmission before the public health took measures,” adds co-author Albert Bosch in a statement. Bosch is also president of the Spanish Society of Virology.

合著者阿尔伯特·博世(Albert Bosch)在一份声明中补充说:“那些感染了COVID-19的人可能会在初诊中被误诊为流感,从而导致在采取公共卫生措施之前就发生了社区传播。” 博世还是西班牙病毒学会的主席。