The N.Y. Post wrote in August 2020:
In April 2012, six miners in the Mojiang mine in southwestern China’s Yunnan province fell ill after spending more than 14 days removing bat feces. Three eventually died.
In his thesis, the physician Li Xu, who treated the miners, describes how the patients had a high fever, a dry cough, sore limbs and, in some cases, headaches — all symptoms now associated with COVID-19, said Latham and Wilson.
How the miners were treated — for example, with ventilation and a variety of drugs including steroids, blood thinners and antibiotics — also resembles how COVID-19 patients are being treated worldwide, they said. [...]
The doctor also sent sample tissues from the miners to the Wuhan lab, a focal point of coronavirus research in China. There, scientists found the source of infection was a SARS-like coronavirus from a Chinese rufous horseshoe bat, according to the thesis.
Latham and Wilson believe the virus — once inside the miners — “evolved” into SARS CoV-2, “an unusually pathogenic coronavirus highly adapted to humans,” and the samples somehow escaped from the lab last year, launching what has morphed into the coronavirus pandemic.
The Federalist has a longer piece which contains an interview with one of the authors (Latham) of the original piece and it says quoting him
Our proposition is quite simple — that the hospital sent samples to Wuhan from the miners and what evolved inside the miners was SARS-CoV-2.
And likewise the very long original article eventually gets to:
We suggest, first, that inside the miners RaTG13 (or a very similar virus) evolved into SARS-CoV-2, an unusually pathogenic coronavirus highly adapted to humans. Second, that the Shi lab used medical samples taken from the miners and sent to them by Kunming University Hospital for their research. It was this human-adapted virus, now known as SARS-CoV-2, that escaped from the WIV in 2019.
If the virus was identified (as a coronavirus) in 2012 and it's exactly SARS-CoV-2 as opposed some relative, why was the SARS-CoV-2 sequence unknown (to the wider scientific) until it [re]emerged in Wuhan 8 years later? Something doesn't quite add up here, even with China's bureaucracy penchant for covering up bad news.