Study Says Travel Restrictions Can Delay, but Can’t Defeat a Global Coronavirus Outbreak
Comparisons of the real-world spread of the COV-19 coronavirus with computer models indicate that the travel restrictions imposed by authorities in China and other nations have delayed the progress of the outbreak by a matter of days or weeks.
The models suggest that the best way to mitigate the epidemic isn't through travel restrictions, but through public health interventions and behavioral changes — such as frequent hand-washing and social distancing.
The open-access findings were published today by the journal Science, by a research team including scientists from the U.S., Italy and China. Elizabeth Halloran, a biostatistician who works at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Washington, is a member of the team.
Researchers took advantage of a computer model known as GLEAM, which traces the dynamics for the global transmission of diseases based on a given set of parameters. The team tweaked those parameters in an effort to determine how COVID-19 might have spread under different conditions.
The results suggest the travel ban that Chinese authorities introduced on Jan. 23 in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, slowed the virus' spread across China by three to five days.
By early February, airlines had begun restricting international flights to and from China. But computer modeling of the real-world spread of the virus suggests that "a large number" of individuals who were exposed to COVID-19 traveled internationally without being detected. Those individuals seeded fresh outbreaks elsewhere, the researchers said.
"This finding is consistent with the emergence of COVID-19 outbreaks in countries across the world, including Italy, Republic of South Korea and Iran in the second half of February," the team reported.
Contribution to the relative risk of importation of the top 10 Chinese cities (plus the rest of Mainland China) until 22 January and after Wuhan travel ban from 23 January to 1 March 2020. The listed countries correspond to the top 20 countries at risk of importation. Copyright © 2020, American Association for the Advancement of Science
The models suggest restrictions on flights to and from China slowed the virus' spread by two to three weeks.
Researchers cautioned that their findings were based on preliminary parameters relating to the incubation time for the virus, and prior knowledge about earlier coronavirus epidemics. Nevertheless, they said the computer models could help guide expectations for controlling the virus' spread.
"Moving forward we expect that travel restrictions to COVID-19 affected areas will have modest effects, and that transmission-reduction interventions will provide the greatest benefit to mitigate the epidemic," they said.
The study in Science is called "The Effect of Travel Restrictions on the Spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak." The University of Florida's Ira Longini and Northeastern's Alessandro Vespignani are corresponding authors. Co-authors include Halloran as well as Jessica Davis, Marco Ajelli, Corrado Gioannini, Maria Litvinova, Stefano Merler, Ana Pastore y Piontti, Kunpeng Mu, Luca Rossi, Kaiyuan Sun, Cecile Viboud, Xinyue Xiong and Hongji Yu.
This article was originally published on GeekWire. Love space and science? Sign up for GeekWire's Space & Science email newsletter for top headlines from GeekWire's aerospace and science editor.
Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.
It's never been a better time to "murder your thirst."
Seven months after raising more than $9 million in Series A funding, Santa Monica-based canned water startup Liquid Death has raised $23 million in Series B funding.
The round was led by an unnamed consumer-focused family office and participated in by Convivialité Ventures, Fat Mike (NOFX), Pat McAfee, existing investor in Velvet Sea Ventures and others.
Their Russian investor was dead.
On a late Tuesday night in early May, the billionaire Russian coal tycoon, Dmitry "Dima" Bosov stopped answering phone calls and messages. When his wife, Katerina, arrived at their mansion in the suburbs of Moscow, she found her 52-year old husband locked in the family's home gym, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
Editor's Note<p><em></em><em>The story is pieced together from interviews with more than 40 former employees and business associates, active and retired county officials, as well as federal and county law enforcement; state court records, arbitration, arrest and corporate records in the U.S. and Canada; other public records in six California counties; Genius Fund corporate records and emails. Some former employees and business associates spoke to dot.LA on condition that their names not be mentioned out of fear of reprisals.</em></p><p>This is first story in our "Green Rush" series. Read more:</p><p><a href="https://dot.la/genius-fund-cannabis-startup-2646866270" target="_self">Part 2: Growing Pains in Plumas County</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/cannabis-products-genius-fund-2646866366.html" target="_self">Part 3: A Line of Failed Products</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/green-rush-genius-fund-2646866354.html" target="_blank">Part 4: What Went Down in Adelanto</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/dmitry-bosov-genius-fund-2646866356.html" target="_self">Part 5: The Sudden Death of Dmitry Bosov And His Dream of a California Cannabis Empire</a></p>
- Genius Fund's Plans to Build the Biggest Pot Farm in CA' - dot.LA ›
- Is the Green Rush Over? - dot.LA ›
- Green Rush: What Went Down in Adelanto - dot.LA ›
- The Death of Dmitry Bosov and His Dream of a Cannabis Empire - dot.LA ›
- LA Metal Icon Expands His Cannabis and Design Brand into Nevada, Arizona - dot.LA ›