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expert reaction to modelling predictions on future transmission and peak of coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) in Wuhan – estimating the peak in Wuhan in mid-late February

Researchers, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM),  have released new modelling predictions on future transmission and peak of coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) in Wuhan, in which they estimate the peak in Wuhan will be in mid to late February.


Dr Robin Thompson, Junior Research Fellow in Mathematical Epidemiology, University of Oxford said:

“This is a really interesting analysis. I hope that the peak of the outbreak in Wuhan is coming soon, as this research predicts. One proviso must be that forecasting the peak of any outbreak is challenging, and so there is significant uncertainty in estimates of both the timing of the peak and the total number of cases that will occur.”


Prof Rowland Kao, Sir Timothy O’Shea Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology and Data Science, University of Edinburgh, said:

“This is an analysis by an experienced and talented team but as always the limitations of the available data will affect their predictions. The predictions for the outbreak peaking in Wuhan implies that, by whatever means, the number of new cases will start to decline – it does not imply that the disease is necessarily under control. If previously unexposed populations become infected, the outbreak could start rising again.

“One thing to keep in mind is that this is primarily based on data from Wuhan; the estimates for other countries are only for the import of cases, and thus worldwide estimates of decline are not made – they would likely contain substantially greater uncertainty. In particular, in the countries where no or few cases are reported (for example in African, the Middle East and South America) there are no reported cases yet and under-reporting may be a factor. Also, in areas where the infrastructure for detecting and controlling the disease is less well developed, the reproduction rate of the disease could be substantially influenced by non-biological factors such as how effective quarantine strategies may be or contact tracing.”


Analysis and projections of transmission dynamics of nCoV in Wuhan by Adam Kucharski et al. (Please note this is a preliminary analysis so has not been through peer-review) –,


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

Our factsheet on the outbreak is available here:


Declared interests

None received. 

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