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Effects of media reporting on mitigating spread of COVID-19 in the early phase of the outbreak

1 College of Mathematics and Information Science, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China
2 School of Mathematics and Information Science, Baoji University of Arts and Sciences, Baoji 721013, China
3 School of Mathematics and Statistics, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Special Issues: Modeling the Biological, Epidemiological, Immunological, Molecular, Virological Aspects of COVID-19

The 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is running rampantly in China and is swiftly spreading to other countries in the world, which causes a great concern on the global public health. The absence of specific therapeutic treatment or effective vaccine against COVID-19 call for other avenues of the prevention and control measures. Media reporting is thought to be effective to curb the spreading of an emergency disease in the early stage. Cross-correlation analysis based on our collected data demonstrated a strong correlation between media data and the infection case data. Thus we proposed a deterministic dynamical model to examine the interaction of the disease progression and the media reports and to investigate the effectiveness of media reporting on mitigating the spread of COVID-19. The basic reproduction number was estimated as 5.3167 through parameterization of the model with the number of cumulative confirmed cases, the number of cumulative deaths and the daily number of media items. Sensitivity analysis suggested that, during the early phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, enhancing the response rate of the media reporting to the severity of COVID-19, and enhancing the response rate of the public awareness to the media reports, both can bring forward the peak time and reduce the peak size of the infection significantly. These findings suggested that besides improving the medical levels, media coverage can be considered as an effective way to mitigate the disease spreading during the initial stage of an outbreak.
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