NIH Studies COVID-19 Spread
A team of researchers with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Fogarty International Center in Bethesda, Maryland, studied the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in China’s Hunan province.
A team of researchers with the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Fogarty International Center in Bethesda, Maryland, studied the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in China’s Hunan province, one of the first regions in the world to experience a COVID-19 outbreak, to understand how the virus spread. Findings from the study published in Science, give insight into different strategies for controlling the spread of the virus, which the Hunan province was able to control after implementing several strategies.
Researchers examined case records from 1,178 COVID-19 patients and looked at data on more than 15,000 of the patients’ close contacts. They found that a minority of people infected with the virus were responsible for transmitting the most cause, and about 80% of cases spread by 15% of infected individuals. Of all the measures that Hunan implemented to slow the spread, isolating COVID-19 cases and quarantining contacts was found to be how the province was able to slow transmission of the virus. According to investigators, community-wide measures such as mask-wearing, restrictions on large group gatherings and increased telework must also be put in place to control the spread.
Hunan used several measures to get the COVID-19 outbreak under control, including strict lockdown measures, mask-wearing, and physical distancing. Those infected were treated in dedicated hospitals. The province also used contact tracing to identify who may have been exposed. Those contacts were subsequently quarantined in medical observational facilities.