Study finds traffic control can effectively stop viruses early in outbreak

On March 25, according to media reports, research teams from Oxford University, Northeastern University and other universities published a paper in Science that Wuhan’s adoption of social isolation measures such as city closure and traffic control is an important measure to prevent the spread of the epidemic. The researchers analyzed data on population migration and confirmed cases in Hubei and other provinces, and as of February 10, the number of confirmed cases outside Wuhan was significantly related to people moving out of Wuhan.

Data show that outside Hubei, there were at least 515 cases of infection in Wuhan before January 31, compared with 39 since January 31. This suggests that traffic control measures have led to a significant reduction in the number of export infections.

The researchers say traffic control can effectively reduce confirmed cases in the early stages of an outbreak. Once the new corona outbreak has spread, traffic control is difficult to work, including traffic control, expanding testing volume, effective isolation and a series of measures of joint efforts.

Professor Samuel Scarpino of Northeastern University points out that the political will of many countries lags behind the spread of the virus, but that blockades and isolation are effective, and that this takes five to 14 days earlier than any mitigation measures.

In another study published March 25 in The Lancet, researchers used mathematical models to simulate the different outcomes of measures such as traffic control.

The results showed that if the blockade lasted only until the end of the Spring Festival holiday, there would have been little impact on the outbreak. The median number of people infected will be reduced by 92% by mid-2020, with comprehensive social isolation measures through April. Premature and abrupt cancellation of interventions can lead to a second peak earlier.

Both studies have shown that social isolation measures such as traffic control, school closures and entertainment venues are important measures to control the spread of the epidemic, and that countries should seize the window to control the outbreak.

Study finds traffic control can effectively stop viruses early in outbreak