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The Global Handwashing Partnership

The Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) – China, 2020

Published: February 21, 2020

Citation: Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology Team. The Epidemiological Characteristics of an Outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) in China. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2020;41(2):145–151. DOI:10.3760/cma.j.issn.0254-6450.2020.02.003.

Abstract: An outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China has spread quickly nationwide. Here, we report results of a descriptive, exploratory analysis of all cases diagnosed as of February 11, 2020. All COVID-19 cases reported through February 11, 2020 were extracted from China’s Infectious Disease Information System. Analyses included the following: 1) summary of patient characteristics; 2) examination of age distributions and sex ratios; 3) calculation of case fatality and mortality rates; 4) geo-temporal analysis of viral spread; 5) epidemiological curve construction; and 6) subgroup analysis. A total of 72,314 patient records—44,672 (61.8%) confirmed cases, 16,186 (22.4%) suspected cases, 10,567 (14.6%) clinically diagnosed cases (Hubei Province only), and 889 asymptomatic cases (1.2%)—contributed data for the analysis. Among confirmed cases, most were aged 30–79 years (86.6%), diagnosed in Hubei (74.7%), and considered mild (80.9%). A total of 1,023 deaths occurred among
confirmed cases for an overall case fatality rate of 2.3%. The COVID-19 spread outward from Hubei Province sometime after December 2019, and by February 11, 2020, 1,386 counties across all 31 provinces were affected. The epidemic curve of onset of symptoms peaked around January 23–26, then began to decline leading up to February 11. A total of 1,716 health workers have become infected and 5 have died (0.3%). COVID-19 epidemic has spread very quickly taking only 30 days to expand from Hubei to the rest of Mainland China. With many people returning from a long holiday, China needs to prepare for the possible rebound of the epidemic.

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