From the first case of Covid-19 to a planetary crisis: when a virus changes the face of the world

On November 17, 2019, a patient was hospitalized in Wuhan. It will become, much later, the first known case of Covid-19. A year later, this virus killed more than 1.3 million people and changed our habits for a long time.

Any story always starts with a character who breaks with the usual rhythm of things. An unforeseeable event that affects the lives of many people. The place of the plot is known: the Wuhan seafood market in China’s Hubei region, before it spread to the whole world. The first known protagonist is an illustrious unknown. This is a 55-year-old man who, after several worrying symptoms, goes to Wuhan hospital on November 17, 2019, a year ago to the day. This man from Hubei will much later become “patient 1” of an epidemic that will soon be called Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2 or “new coronavirus“. The famous “patient zero” has still not been identified.

According to the University of Pennsylvania, SARS-CoV-2 would have mutated from a bat coronavirus known to mutate easily, RaTG13. His human cousin would have appeared between 1948 and 1982. Since then, he has been able to directly infect a human or pass through an intermediate host, such as the Javanese pangolin, quickly presented as the ideal culprit, but which today, without being exonerated. , remains a mere suspect. The mysteries about the origins of the epidemic therefore remain unresolved. Beijing and European athletes question the 2019 military games, held at the end of October in Wuhan, and see it as the vector for the spread of the virus.

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