Simply put, the authors found that with a reproductive number of 1.5, containment was probable regardless of the severity of the other variables considered. With a reproductive number of 2.5 (the average of most available estimates), however, containment was much less likely unless roughly 80% of contacts were traced. Additionally, larger numbers of initial cases were shown to be much more difficult to contain. With 40 initial cases and a reproductive number of 2.5, even tracing 80% of contacts did not lead to containment.
This paper highlights the ongoing uncertainty of this outbreak. Many of these scenarios are possible and many of these variables are still unknown. What this paper does indicate is that even the most likely scenarios pose a considerable containment challenge, but contact tracing and isolation will help to reduce the overall number of cases and the chances of transmission, ultimately making the outbreak easier to manage overall.
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