Disease burden and clinical severity of the first pandemic wave of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China.


The pandemic of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) began in Wuhan, China, where a first wave of intense community transmission was cut short by interventions. Using multiple data source, we estimated the disease burden and clinical severity of COVID-19 by age in Wuhan from December 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. We adjusted estimates for sensitivity of laboratory assays and accounted for prospective community screenings and healthcare seeking behaviors. Rates of symptomatic cases, medical consultations, hospitalizations and deaths were estimated at 796 (95%CI: 703-977), 489 (472-509), 370 (358-384), and 36.2 (35.0-37.3) per 100,000 persons, respectively. The COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan had higher burden than the 2009 influenza pandemic or seasonal influenza, and that clinical severity was similar to that of the 1918 influenza pandemic. Our comparison puts the COVID-19 pandemic into context and could be helpful to guide intervention strategies and preparedness for the potential resurgence of COVID-19.

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