[Science] Serial interval of SARS-CoV-2 was shortened over time by nonpharmaceutical interventions

Science, 21 July 2020

Sheikh Taslim Ali, Lin Wang, Eric H. Y. Lau, Xiao-Ke Xu, Zhanwei Du, Ye Wu, Gabriel M. Leung, Benjamin J. Cowling


  • By compiling a line-list database of transmission pairs in mainland China, we show that mean serial intervals of COVID-19 have shortened substantially from 7.8 days to 2.6 days within a month (January 9 to February 13, 2020)
  • This change is driven by enhanced non-pharmaceutical interventions, in particular case isolation.
  • Using real-time estimation of serial intervals allowing for variation over time, provides more accurate estimates of reproduction numbers than using conventionally fixed serial interval distributions.

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