Estimating the daily trend in the size of the COVID-19 infected population in Wuhan

  • Qiushi Lin (Contributor)
  • Tao Jun Hu (Contributor)
  • Xiao Hua Zhou (Contributor)



Abstract Background The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a pandemic causing global health problem. We provide estimates of the daily trend in the size of the epidemic in Wuhan based on detailed information of 10 940 confirmed cases outside Hubei province. Methods In this modelling study, we first estimate the epidemic size in Wuhan from 10 January to 5 April 2020 with a newly proposed model, based on the confirmed cases outside Hubei province that left Wuhan by 23 January 2020 retrieved from official websites of provincial and municipal health commissions. Since some confirmed cases have no information on whether they visited Wuhan before, we adjust for these missing values. We then calculate the reporting rate in Wuhan from 20 January to 5 April 2020. Finally, we estimate the date when the first infected case occurred in Wuhan. Results We estimate the number of cases that should be reported in Wuhan by 10 January 2020, as 3229 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 3139–3321) and 51 273 (95% CI: 49 844–52 734) by 5 April 2020. The reporting rate has grown rapidly from 1.5% (95% CI: 1.5–1.6%) on 20 January 2020, to 39.1% (95% CI: 38.0–40.2%) on 11 February 2020, and increased to 71.4% (95% CI: 69.4–73.4%) on 13 February 2020, and reaches 97.6% (95% CI: 94.8–100.3%) on 5 April 2020. The date of first infection is estimated as 30 November 2019. Conclusions In the early stage of COVID-19 outbreak, the testing capacity of Wuhan was insufficient. Clinical diagnosis could be a good complement to the method of confirmation at that time. The reporting rate is very close to 100% now and there are very few cases since 17 March 2020, which might suggest that Wuhan is able to accommodate all patients and the epidemic has been controlled.
Date made available1 Jan 2020
PublisherFigshare - Springer

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