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Characteristics of and Important Lessons From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in ChinaSummary of a Report of 72 314 Cases From the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Educational Objective
Review key findings from China's case study of the COVID-19 outbreak
1 Credit CME

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently published the largest case series to date of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in mainland China (72 314 cases, updated through February 11, 2020).1 This Viewpoint summarizes key findings from this report and discusses emerging understanding of and lessons from the COVID-19 epidemic.

Among a total of 72 314 case records (Box), 44 672 were classified as confirmed cases of COVID-19 (62%; diagnosis based on positive viral nucleic acid test result on throat swab samples), 16 186 as suspected cases (22%; diagnosis based on symptoms and exposures only, no test was performed because testing capacity is insufficient to meet current needs), 10 567 as clinically diagnosed cases (15%; this designation is being used in Hubei Province only; in these cases, no test was performed but diagnosis was made based on symptoms, exposures, and presence of lung imaging features consistent with coronavirus pneumonia), and 889 as asymptomatic cases (1%; diagnosis by positive viral nucleic acid test result but lacking typical symptoms including fever, dry cough, and fatigue).1

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Zunyou Wu, MD, PhD, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 155 Changbai Rd, Beijing 102206, China (wuzy@263.net).

Published Online: February 24, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2648

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: This work was supported by the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China (2018ZX10721102).

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: The funder had no role in the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript, or the decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein reflect the collective views of the coauthors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional Contributions: We thank China CDC Weekly for its permission to re-create the epidemic curve with modifications.

References
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Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia Emergency Response Epidemiology Team.  Vital surveillances: the epidemiological characteristics of an outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19)—China, 2020.  China CDC Weekly. Accessed February 20, 2020. http://weekly.chinacdc.cn/en/article/id/e53946e2-c6c4-41e9-9a9b-fea8db1a8f51
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