Evolving epidemiology and transmission dynamics of coronavirus disease 2019 outside Hubei province, China: a descriptive and modelling study

Juanjuan Zhang, Maria Litvinova, Wei Wang, Yan Wang, Xiaowei Deng, Xinghui Chen, Mei Li, Wen Zheng, Lan Yi, Xinhua Chen, Qianhui Wu, Yuxia Liang, Xiling Wang, Juan Yang, Kaiyuan Sun, Ira M Longini Jr, M Elizabeth Halloran, Peng Wu, Benjamin J Cowling, Stefano Merler, Cecile Viboud, Alessandro Vespignani, Marco Ajelli, Hongjie Yu


Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), began in Wuhan city, Hubei province, in December, 2019, and has spread throughoutChina. Understanding the evolving epidemiology and transmission dynamics of the outbreak beyond Hubei would provide timely information to guide intervention policy.We collected individual information from official public sources on laboratory-confirmed cases reported outside Hubei in mainland China for the period of Jan 19 to Feb 17, 2020. We used the date of the fourth revision of the case definition (Jan 27) to divide the epidemic into two time periods (Dec 24 to Jan 27, and Jan 28 to Feb 17) as the date of symptom onset. We estimated trends in the demographic characteristics of cases and key time-to-eventintervals. We used a Bayesian approach to estimate the dynamics of the net reproduction number (Rt) at the provincial level.

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