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Spread of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Estimated

By Jan. 25, 2020, 75,815 individuals had been infected in Wuhan; epidemic doubling time 6.4 days

MONDAY, Feb. 3, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Multiple major cities in China are estimated to have imported cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and epidemics are estimated to be growing exponentially in those cities, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in The Lancet.

Joseph T. Wu, Ph.D., from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues used data on the number of cases exported from Wuhan internationally to infer the number of infections in Wuhan from Dec. 1, 2019, to Jan. 25, 2020. Accounting for the effect of the metropolitan-wide quarantine of Wuhan, which began on Jan. 23 to 24, 2020, the national and global spread of 2019-nCoV was forecast.

The researchers estimated that the basic reproductive number for 2019-nCoV was 2.68 in the baseline scenario, and as of Jan. 25, 2020, 75,815 individuals had been infected in Wuhan. The doubling time of the epidemic was 6.4 days. Chongqing, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen were estimated to have imported 461, 113, 98, 111, and 80 infections from Wuhan, respectively, in the baseline scenario. Assuming that the transmissibility of 2019-nCoV is similar domestically and over time, epidemics were estimated to be growing exponentially in multiple major cities in China, with a lag time of about one to two weeks behind the Wuhan outbreak.

“In the absence of substantial public health interventions that are immediately applied, further international seeding and subsequent local establishment of epidemics might become inevitable,” the authors write.

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