Wuhan Shrimp Vendor Is Potential Coronavirus ‘Patient Zero,’ Chinese Experts Say
A 57-year-old shrimp vendor at the Huanan market in Wuhan, China has been identified as one of the first people to test positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), possibly even being “patient zero.”
Wei Guixian was the first person from the seafood market, where the virus is believed to have originated, to receive a positive diagnosis.
According to Chinese outlet The Paper, Guixian was working on Dec.10 when she developed flu-like symptoms. She went to a local clinic and then returned to work.
“I felt a bit tired, but not as tired as previous years,” she told The Paper. “Every winter, I always suffer from the flu. So I thought it was the flu.”
She visited another clinic the next day, but then went to the Eleventh Hospital after her symptoms did not improve.
“The doctor at the Eleventh Hospital could not figure out what was wrong with me and gave me pills,” Wei told The Paper. “By then I felt a lot worse and very uncomfortable. I did not have the strength or energy.”
On Dec. 16, Wei went to Wuhan Union Hospital to get checked out, where a doctor told her several other people from the market had come in with similar symptoms.
The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued a statement two weeks later on Dec. 31, revealing Wei was among the first 27 patients to test positive for COVID-19. Twenty four of those cases were directly linked to the market.
The vendors working on both sides of Wei, as well as one of her daughters, a niece and the niece’s husband all caught the virus.
She has fully recovered from the virus, leaving the hospital in January. She told the Wall Street Journal she believes she picked up the virus from a toilet in the market which is shared with vendors and others.
“A lot fewer people would have died” in the country if the government had acted sooner, Wei told the Journal in February.
Over 3,000 people in China died from the virus, which has since spread across the globe. In total, it has affected nearly 800,000 people and killed more than 38,000.