The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, reported that Ian Lipkin, one of the world’s top epidemiologists and a professor at Columbia University, said on numerous occasions that he learned about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China on December 15, 2019. He repeated the date in a documentary film by the director Spike Lee. He also told Columbia University Medical Center that he first heard about the outbreak “in the middle of December 2019” from his friends at the China’s Center for Disease Control.
Beijing hid the outbreak news for quite a while. Dr. Li Wenliang revealed the information in a Wechat discussion group on December 27, after which the police admonished him. That was the first occurrence in which the Chinese talked about the virus.
The report also listed other sources that indicated the outbreak was earlier:
The academic in charge of collating official data told a Chinese health journal of a suspected fatality of a patient who fell ill in late September in 2019, followed by two more cases on November 14 and 21.
Connor Reed, a 25-year-old Briton teaching in Wuhan, said he fell ill on November 25. Two months later, a hospital confirmed that his debilitating sickness was the new coronavirus.
Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law in Washington, said he learned of the disease in mid-December, telling the Los Angeles Times he heard “from a friend in Wuhan that there is a novel coronavirus and it looks very serious.”
Dutch virologist Ron Fouchier told a documentary that he discussed the outbreak in the first week of December with his colleague Marion Koopmans, a member of the WHO inquiry team.
Source: Daily Mail, September 4, 2021