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The Novel Coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is Highly Contagious and More Infectious Than Initially Estimated

By Steven Sanche, Yen Ting Lin, Chonggang Xu, Ethan Romero-Severson, Nick Hengartner, Ruian Ke

Posted 11 Feb 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.02.07.20021154

The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a recently emerged human pathogen that has spread widely since January 2020. Initially, the basic reproductive number, R0, was estimated to be 2.2 to 2.7. Here we provide a new estimate of this quantity. We collected extensive individual case reports and estimated key epidemiology parameters, including the incubation period. Integrating these estimates and high-resolution real-time human travel and infection data with mathematical models, we estimated that the number of infected individuals during early epidemic double every 2.4 days, and the R0 value is likely to be between 4.7 and 6.6. We further show that quarantine and contact tracing of symptomatic individuals alone may not be effective and early, strong control measures are needed to stop transmission of the virus. One-sentence summaryBy collecting and analyzing spatiotemporal data, we estimated the transmission potential for 2019-nCoV.

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