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Probable Longer Incubation Period for Elderly COVID-19 Cases: Analysis of 180 Contact Tracing Data in Hubei Province, China

Authors Dai J, Yang L, Zhao J

Received 12 April 2020

Accepted for publication 21 July 2020

Published 11 August 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 1111—1117


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Jingyi Dai,1 Lin Yang,2 Jun Zhao2

1Department of Infectious Diseases, The Third People’s Hospital of Kunming City, Kunming, Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China; 2School of Public Health and Management, Hubei University of Medicine, Shiyan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China

Correspondence: Jun Zhao
School of Public Health and Management, Hubei University of Medicine, 30 South Renmin Road, Shiyan, Hubei 442000, People’s Republic of China
Email [email protected]

Background: Factors associated with the incubation period of COVID-19 are not fully known. The aim of this study was to estimate the incubation period of COVID-19 using epidemiological contact tracing data, and to explore whether there were different incubation periods among different age gr1oups.
Methods: We collected contact tracing data in a municipality in Hubei province during the full outbreak period of COVID-19. The exposure periods were inferred from the history of travel in Wuhan and/or history of exposure to confirmed cases. The incubation periods were estimated using parametric accelerated failure time models accounting for interval censoring of exposures.
Results: The incubation period of COVID-19 follows a Weibull distribution and has a median of 5.8 days with a bootstrap 95% CI: 5.4– 6.7 days. Of the symptomatic cases, 95% showed symptoms by 14.3 days (95% CI: 13.0– 15.7), and 99% showed symptoms by 18.7 days (95% CI: 16.7– 20.9). The incubation periods were not found significantly different between male and female. Elderly cases had significant longer incubation periods than young age cases (HR 1.49 with 95% CI: 1.09– 2.05). The median incubation period was estimated at 4.0 days (95% CI: 3.5– 4.4) for cases aged under 30, 5.8 days (95% CI: 5.6– 6.0) for cases aged between 30 and 59, and 7.7 days (95% CI: 6.9– 8.4) for cases aged greater than or equal to 60.
Conclusion: The current practice of a 14-day quarantine period in many regions is reasonable for any age. Older people infected with SARS-CoV2 have longer incubation period than that of younger people. Thus, more attention should be paid to asymptomatic elderly people who had a history of exposure.

Keywords: infectious disease, coronavirus, incubation period, epidemiology

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