Claim: Coronavirus May Have Been in Italy in November of 2019

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 06: A general view of a nearly empty Galleria Vittorio Emanuele on November 06, 2020 in Milan, Italy. The Italian regions of Calabria, Lombardy, Piedmont and Val d'Aosta went into a soft lockdown on Friday November 06. People are able to leave their homes only for …
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Doctors in the Italian city of Milan have claimed that the Wuhan virus may have been circulating in the city as early as November of 2019 after re-examining a case of a child who reported breathing difficulties.

The case involved a four-year-old boy who had been tested for measles at a hospital in Milan after being diagnosed with breathing difficulties. The smear that was tested had been preserved and was retested by Milan university researchers, showing positive for the coronavirus.

According to a report from newspaper Kronen Zeitung, neither the young boy nor his parents had been outside of the country prior to his illness in November.

The child’s case was just one of the 39 cases of patients with breathing problems from the period between September 2019 and February 2020 that were reexamined for signs of the virus and the only one to test positive for the disease.

Gian Vincenzo Zuccotti, Head of the Medical Department of the University of Milan, conducted the study and published the results in the Emerging Infectious Diseases medical journal.

The case is not the first to be reported before the first official case in Italy, which was recorded in February of this year. As early as April, a doctor in the town of Cividate al Piano, an hour’s drive from Milan, stated that he had patients showing coronavirus symptoms in January.

Dr Pietro Poidomani said that he met with at least 12 patients after reopening his clinic on the 7th of January after Christmas holidays who had breathing problems and a fever.

Last month, the National Cancer Institute (INT) in Milan released a study that claimed the Chinese virus could have been circulating in the country even earlier, in September of 2019.

The data was found by measuring coronavirus antibodies present in those who had enrolled in a lung cancer screening trial between September 2019 and March of this year.

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



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