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expert reaction to Lancet modelling study estimating spread of 2019 novel coronavirus

A study, published in The Lancet, reports on an estimate spread of the coronavirus outbreak.  


Prof John Edmunds, Professor in the Centre for the Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“This paper uses a mathematical model to assess how many cases may have already occurred in Wuhan and project forward to see when the epidemic there might peak and how many cases might be expected as well as assess the impact of control policies.  The model suggests that there have been tens of thousands of cases in Wuhan already, which is in line with estimates made by other groups.  The forward projections are much more speculative, however, and are probably best viewed as indicative rather than hard forecasts.  This is inevitable, as at such an early stage in an epidemic when there is so little information on the virus and how it spreads, it is very difficult to make accurate predictions.”


Dr Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow in Global Health, University of Southampton, said:

“Given the large number of cases in China, the evidence supporting human to human transmission was to be expected.  It’s very important this is avoided in other countries.  That’s the key to controlling this outbreak.”


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


‘Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study’ by Joseph T Wu et al. was published in The Lancet on Friday 31 January 2020.

DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30260-9


Declared interests

None received.

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