When to lift the lockdown in Hubei province during COVID-19 epidemic? An insight from a patch model and multiple source data.J Theor Biol. 2020 12 21; 507:110469.JT
After diagnosed in Wuhan, COVID-19 spread quickly in mainland China. Though the epidemic in regions outside Hubei in mainland China has maintained a degree of control, evaluating the effectiveness and timeliness of intervention strategies, and predicting the transmission risk of work resumption as well as lifting the lockdown in Hubei province remain urgent. A patch model reflecting the mobility of population between Hubei and regions outside Hubei is formulated, and parameterized based on multiple source data for Hubei and regions outside Hubei. The effective reproduction numbers for Hubei and regions outside Hubei are estimated as 3.59 and 3.26 before Jan 23rd, 2020, but decrease quickly since then and drop below 1 after Jan 31st and Jan 28th, 2020. It is predicted that the new infections in Hubei province will decrease to very low level in mid-March, and the final size is estimated to be about 68,500 cases. The simulations reveal that contact rate after work resumption or lifting the lockdown in Hubei plays a critical role in affecting the epidemic. If the contact rate could be kept at a relatively low level, work resumption starting as early as on March 2nd in Hubei province may not induce the secondary outbreak, and the daily new infectious cases can be controlled at a low level if the lockdown in Hubei is liftted after March 9th, otherwise both work resumption and lifting the lockdown in Hubei should be postponed.