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Early dynamics of transmission and control of 2019-nCoV: a mathematical modelling study

Abstract

Background: An outbreak of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has led to 46,997 confirmed cases as of 13th February 2020. Understanding the early transmission dynamics of the infection and evaluating the effectiveness of control measures is crucial for assessing the potential for sustained transmission to occur in new areas. Methods: We combined a stochastic transmission model with data on cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Wuhan and international cases that originated in Wuhan to estimate how transmission had varied over time during January and February 2020. Based on these estimates, we then calculated the probability that newly introduced cases might generate outbreaks in other areas. Findings: We estimated that the median daily reproduction number, Rt , declined from 2.35 (95% CI: 1.15-4.77) one week before travel restrictions were introduced on 23rd January to 1.05 (95% CI: 0.413-2.39) one week after. Based on our estimates of Rt,we calculated that in locations with similar transmission potential as Wuhan in early January, once there are at least four independently introduced cases, there is a more than 50% chance the infection will establish within that population. Interpretation: Our results show that COVID-19 transmission likely declined in Wuhan during late January 2020, coinciding with the introduction of control measures. As more cases arrive in international locations with similar transmission potential to Wuhan pre-control, it is likely many chains of transmission will fail to establish initially, but may still cause new outbreaks eventually. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest. ### Funding Statement This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (grants 206250/Z/17/Z and 210758/Z/18/Z) and HDR UK (grant: MR/S003975/1). ### Author Declarations All relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript. Yes All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived. Yes I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance). Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable. Yes All data and code are available at: https://github.com/adamkucharski/2020-ncov/stoch_model_V1_paper

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