March 12, 2020

Mathematical modeling study of COVID-19 transmission, control

By: Judy Mathias

Editor's Note

Combining a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission with four datasets from within and outside Wuhan, China, researchers with the Centre for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases COVID-19 working group, estimated how transmission in Wuhan varied between December 2019 (before travel restrictions) and February 2020 (after travel restrictions) and whether the findings could be applied to other countries.

The researches found that the median daily reproduction number (ie, mean number of secondary cases generated by a typical infectious individual on each day in a fully susceptible population) in Wuhan declined from 2.35 at 1 week before travel restrictions were introduced on January 23 to 1.05 at 1 week after.

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Based on these estimates, the researchers calculated that once there are at least four independently introduced cases in locations with similar transmission potential to Wuhan in early January, there is a more than 50% chance the infection will establish within that population.

The results show that if COVID-19 transmission is established in other countries, understanding the effectiveness of control measures will be crucial for understanding the dynamics of the outbreak and whether the transmission can be contained or effectively mitigated, the researchers say.

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