About one month after the COVID-19 epidemic peaked in Mainland China and SARS-CoV-2 migrated from China westward to Europe and then the U.S., the epidemiological data begin to provide important insights into the risks associated with the disease and the effectiveness of intervention strategies. Like other respiratory diseases, including the 2003 SARS epidemic, the virus remains only about two months in any given population, yet the peak incidence and the lethality can vary. The data suggest that at least two strains of the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 virus have evolved during its migration from Mainland China to Europe. South Korea, Iran, and Italy were hit by the more dangerous “SKII” variant. While the epidemic in China is about to end, and in Europe about to level off, the course of the epidemic in the younger US population is still increasing and the peak level will likely depend on which of the strains has entered the US first. The same models that help us to understand the epidemic also help us to choose prevention strategies. While containment merely prolongs the time the disease circulates until the proportion of immune people is high enough for “herd immunity”, reducing disease severity, either by vaccination or by early treatment of complications, is the best strategy against a respiratory virus disease. ### Competing Interest Statement Dr. Wittkowski is currently the CEO of ASDERA LLC, a company discovering novel treatments for complex diseases from data of genome-wide association studies. One of these treatments could potentially be effective against virus (including coronavirus) diseases. ### Funding Statement none ### Author Declarations All relevant ethical guidelines have been followed; any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained and details of the IRB/oversight body are included in the manuscript. Yes All necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived. Yes I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance). Yes I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable. Yes The data is publicly available

Source: The first three months of the COVID-19 epidemic: Epidemiological evidence for two separate strains of SARS-CoV-2 viruses spreading and implications for prevention strategies


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