Changes in contact patterns shape the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in China

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Science  26 Jun 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6498, pp. 1481-1486
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb8001

Who and what next?

The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought tighter restrictions on the daily lives of millions of people, but we do not yet understand what measures are the most effective. Zhang et al. modeled virus transmission in Wuhan, China, in February 2020, investigating the effects of interventions ranging from patient management to social isolation. Age-mixing patterns were estimated by contact surveys conducted in Wuhan and Shanghai at the beginning of February 2020. Once people reduced their average daily contacts from 14 to 20 down to 2, transmission rapidly fell below the epidemic threshold. The model also showed that preemptive school closures helped to reduce transmission, although alone they would not prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. Limiting human mixing to within households appeared to be the most effective measure.

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