High Contagiousness and Rapid Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2.Emerg Infect Dis. 2020 07; 26(7):1470-1477.EI
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is the causative agent of the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic. Initial estimates of the early dynamics of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, suggested a doubling time of the number of infected persons of 6-7 days and a basic reproductive number (R0) of 2.2-2.7. We collected extensive individual case reports across China and estimated key epidemiologic parameters, including the incubation period (4.2 days). We then designed 2 mathematical modeling approaches to infer the outbreak dynamics in Wuhan by using high-resolution domestic travel and infection data. Results show that the doubling time early in the epidemic in Wuhan was 2.3-3.3 days. Assuming a serial interval of 6-9 days, we calculated a median R0 value of 5.7 (95% CI 3.8-8.9). We further show that active surveillance, contact tracing, quarantine, and early strong social distancing efforts are needed to stop transmission of the virus.