Evaluating Incidence and Impact Estimates of the Coronavirus Outbreak from Official and Non-Official Chinese Data Sources

9 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2020 Last revised: 1 May 2020

See all articles by Mai He

Mai He

Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis

Lucia F. Dunn

Ohio State University

Date Written: February 18, 2020

Abstract

This paper uses new credible non-official sources of data to evaluate the incidence and impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China. Based on the number of reported cremations and on reports of possibly more accurate numbers on cases that appeared briefly on Tencent and were suppressed, we have conducted a modeling study to estimate the incidence and other parameters of the outbreak, including the potential starting time. The numbers for cumulative cases, new cases per day, and cumulative deaths coming from the non-official data are all substantially higher by a factor of 5 to 10 (depending on the date of the data) than would be implied by the official Chinese government data. All sets of non-official data used here imply that the coronavirus outbreak began in October or late September 2019.

Funding: There was no financial support for the conduct of the research and/or preparation of the article or for the study design, the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.


Declaration of Interest: The authors certify that they have NO affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Keywords: Coronavirus, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

He, Mai and Dunn, Lucia F., Evaluating Incidence and Impact Estimates of the Coronavirus Outbreak from Official and Non-Official Chinese Data Sources (February 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3540636 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3540636

Mai He

Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

Lucia F. Dunn (Contact Author)

Ohio State University ( email )

1945 N. High Street
Arps 410
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States
1-614-292-8071 (Phone)
1-614-292-3906 (Fax)

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