First COVID patient still missing, may hold answers to source of outbreak

The world's first COVID-19 patient mysteriously went missing over a year ago. Now, the world is mounting pressure on China to disclose her whereabouts.

Security guard wearing face mask and face shield is seen in Wuhan (photo credit: REUTERS)
Security guard wearing face mask and face shield is seen in Wuhan
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A prominent scientist from the city of Wuhan in China, who has received the title "the world's first COVID-19 patient," has been missing for a year now.
According to various reports, Huang Yanling was the first person in the world to experience the symptoms of coronavirus, currently raging throughout the world. She was the first one to be diagnosed with the disease towards the end of 2019, before we even knew what it was.
The virology researcher has been missing for over a year. During that time, many theories have surfaced about the reasons for her disappearance.
According to one theory, the research center where she worked is connected to the outbreak of the pandemic, as the virus may have leaked from a lab during an experiment. However, the Chinese government was quick to erase any testimony that would relate to that possibility or to Huang's identity, after removing her social media profiles.
And the virology research center where she worked has denied that Huang was the first COVID-19 patient.
Another theory relating to Huang's disappearance points to the Chinese government being behind her death or keeping her captive in order to hide the fact that the virology research center is responsible for the pandemic, according to a report in The Post. In the last few days, international pressure has been mounting on China to provide clear proof that would indicate Huang's whereabouts and the real source of the pandemic.
A few days ago, a post was uploaded to the Chinese instant messaging platform WeChat by a person claiming to be a scientist working with Huang, who claims that she's alive.
"My teacher and student doesn't have much time to speak. Huang Yanling is alive, if you receive a message saying it's a rumor, please say it's not true," the message read. And yet, there is no actual indication that will point to Huang's whereabouts, just like there is no mention of her whatsoever on the virology center's website.
This article was originally published in Hebrew by Maariv Online and was translated by Tobias Siegal.