Italian Region Now Thinks it Already Had 1,200 Coronavirus Cases Before ‘Patient One’ Was Even Detected

A doctor tends to patient in the Intensive Care Unit of the Bassini Hospital, in Cinisello Balsamo, near Milan, Italy, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Domenico Arcuri, Italy’s commissioner for fighting the COVID-19 virus, appealed to Italians ahead of the Easter weekend to not lower their guard and to abide by …
Claudio Furlan/LaPresse via AP, File

An analysis of the Italian region of Lombardy has found that the area had as many as 1,200 cases of Wuhan coronavirus before the official “patient one” was identified in February.

The first positively identified case was thought to have occurred on February 21st, but research claims that the first case actually occurred nearly a month before on January 26th. On that day, Milan alone had at least 46 cases out of the total of 543 across all of Lombardy, on what is being labelled “Day Zero”.

The first cases in Lombardy would have occurred just four days after the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus is thought to have originated, went into lockdown, Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reports.

The first positive tests of Chinese tourists in Italy did not come until January 29th and flights from China were not halted until the day after that.

The data from the analysis comes from various patients across the region which noted that their symptoms had taken place well before the first official case was announced with nine reporting symptoms on February 12, 13th, and 14th, ten on February 18th, and 35 on February 20th.

The analysis echoes previous claims by Dr Pietro Poidomani from the town of Cividate al Piano, which is also located in Lombardy, who said he had seen patients with the symptoms of the virus even earlier on January 7th.

Poidomani said that patients showed the same interstitial thickening of the lungs, which has become a common symptom in Wuhan coronavirus cases.

While Italy remains one of the hardest hit in Europe by coronavirus in terms of both infections and deaths, the number of new infections has decreased in recent weeks.

Last week the country saw recoveries from the disease outpace new infections for the first time, giving some hope that the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will begin easing lockdown measures.

Populist Senator Matteo Salvini has been a firm advocate for the reopening of the country and reiterated his position this week, saying: “After 47 days of imprisonment, we can say on behalf of millions of Italians, ‘basta’ [enough]. Let us out, let us earn, let us work, let us make a life again.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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