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COVID-19 in China: Risk Factors and R0 Revisited

By Irtesam Mahmud Khan, Wenyi Zhang, Sumaira Zafar, Yong Wang, Junyu He, Hailon Sun, Ubydul Haque, M. Sohel Rahman

Posted 22 May 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.05.18.20104703

The COVID-19 epidemic had spread rapidly through China and subsequently has proliferated globally leading to a pandemic situation around the globe. Human-to-human transmissions, as well as asymptomatic transmissions of the infection, have been confirmed. As of April 3rd, public health crisis in China due to COVID-19 is potentially under control. We compiled a daily dataset of case counts, mortality, recovery, temperature, population density, and demographic information for each prefecture during the period of January 11 to April 07, 2020 (excluding Wuhan from our analysis due to missing data). Understanding the characteristics of spatiotemporal clustering of the COVID-19 epidemic and R0 is critical in effectively preventing and controlling the ongoing global pandemic. The prefectures were grouped based on several relevant features using unsupervised machine learning techniques. We performed a computational analysis utilizing the reported cases in China to estimate the revised R0 among different regions for prevention planning in an ongoing global pandemic. Finally, our results indicate that the impact of temperature and demographic (different age group percentage compared to the total population) factors on virus transmission may be characterized using a stochastic transmission model. Such predictions will help prioritize segments of a given community/ region for action and provide a visual aid in designing prevention strategies for a specific geographic region. Furthermore, revised estimation and our methodology will aid in improving the human health consequences of COVID-19 elsewhere.

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