Evaluating Incidence and Impact Estimates of the Coronavirus Outbreak from Official and Non-Official Chinese Data Sources
9 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2020
Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis
Lucia F. Dunn
Ohio State University
Date Written: February 18, 2020
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.