A Failed Deception The Early Days of the Coronavirus Outbreak in Wuhan

In December, a mysterious new respiratory illness began spreading in Wuhan. But it took fully 21 days before the Chinese authorities mobilized to fight the disease. Could the coronavirus pandemic have been prevented?
A medical worker inside an isolation ward at a Wuhan hospital

A medical worker inside an isolation ward at a Wuhan hospital

STR/ AFP
DER SPIEGEL 20/2020

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A traditional market in Wuhan: The virus only jumped to a human on one single occasion.

A traditional market in Wuhan: The virus only jumped to a human on one single occasion.

South China Morning Post/ action press
Dr. Ai Fen: "I was so scared, I broke out in a cold sweat."

Dr. Ai Fen: "I was so scared, I broke out in a cold sweat."

Patients waiting to be transfered to another hospital in Wuhan: The city also provided the blueprint for combating the pandemic.

Patients waiting to be transfered to another hospital in Wuhan: The city also provided the blueprint for combating the pandemic.

STR/ AFP
The city of Wuhan on Feb. 3: The largest quarantine ever imposed in the history of humankind.

The city of Wuhan on Feb. 3: The largest quarantine ever imposed in the history of humankind.

Stringer/ Getty Images
Virologist Gao Fu: Exasperated by the evasive answers he was given.

Virologist Gao Fu: Exasperated by the evasive answers he was given.

Mark Schiefelbein/ AP
People pay respect at a memorial to Dr. Li Wenliang: "There should be more than one voice in a healthy society."

People pay respect at a memorial to Dr. Li Wenliang: "There should be more than one voice in a healthy society."

Lam Yik Fei/ The New York Times/ Reudx/ Laif
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