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Transmission Control Measures Tied to Delay in COVID-19 Growth

Cities that implemented control measures preemptively reported fewer cases than those starting control later

coronavirus cells on dark blue background

THURSDAY, April 2, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Transmission control measures implemented in Wuhan were associated with a delay in epidemic growth during the first 50 days of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic in China, according to a study published online March 31 in Science.

Huaiyu Tian, from Beijing Normal University, and colleagues examined the spread and control of COVID-19 using a data set that included case reports, human movement, and public health interventions.

The researchers note that the Wuhan shutdown (ban of travel to and from Wuhan city on Jan. 23) was associated with a 2.91-day delay in the arrival of COVID-19 in other cities. Compared with cities that started control later, cities that implemented control measures preemptively reported fewer cases on average in the first week of their outbreaks (13.0 versus 20.6). Reductions in case incidence were seen with suspending intracity public transport, closing entertainment venues, and banning public gatherings.

"Control measures were strongly associated with the containment of COVID-19, potentially averting hundreds of thousands of cases by 19 February, day 50 of the epidemic," the authors write. "Whether the means and the outcomes of control can be replicated outside China, and which of the interventions are most effective, are now under intense investigation as the virus continues to spread worldwide."

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