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Friday, January 31, 2020
Only a minority of Wuhanese carries the novel coronavirus
ANBOUND

Since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, people everywhere in China shun the Wuhanese, quite literally, like a plague. This is especially true after the implementation of the measures of locking down in Wuhan on January 23. Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xianwang revealed at a news conference on January 26 in Hubei about novel coronavirus that, due to the impact of the Spring Festival and the epidemic, more than 5 million people had left Wuhan. This has caused another uproar, and regions in China began to prevent the entry of Wuhanese. This data however, also provided us clues on how many of the exodus from Wuhan are carrying the virus.

According to the official website of the People's Daily, as of 24:00 on January 29, a total of 6,095 confirmed cases and 9,239 suspected cases were reported nationwide in China. A total of 1905 cases were confirmed in Wuhan. At the press conference on January 26, Mayor Zhou Xianwang revealed that Wuhan has a total of 2,209 suspected cases in hospital, and 643 people under observation in fever wards; this adds to more than 2,700 people. If we take the accumulated data on January 26 as the current suspected cases in Wuhan, the number of confirmed and suspected cases except Wuhan nationwide is about 6095 + 9239 – 1905 - 2700 = 10729 people. Assuming that these confirmed and suspected cases were all spread by the people from Wuhan, this only accounts for 0.2%, or 2 per 1000, compared with the 5 million people who have flowed from Wuhan to other places.

This also means that although the situation is quite tense, among the people exodus from Wuhan, not more than 2 among 1000 are carriers. However, the problem is we cannot determine which of the 1,000 people carry the virus. Therefore, the authorities can only assume all of them are potentially infected or carrying the virus. This is a high probability management method for small probability events. The cost is extremely high and unimaginable, and this is also the most difficult and delicate issue in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.

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