Research in China Shows Resistance to Coronavirus

Note: It was merely two weeks after I wrote this blog, China has turned into a sanctuary and we, in U.S., are in the deepest panic about Covid-19. Today is March 20. We made an update to the Metascape database. Let us hope we can come out of this pandemic in one piece.

Today a colleague asked me how Chinese are holding on during this devastating virus outbreak. I said things are on the track of recovery outside Hubei province, but people in Wuhan are still suffering. Then I realize a somewhat quantitative answer exists.

Here is the Metascape usage statistics based on traffic originated from China. The data is normalized in such a way that average usage throughout December 2020 is at ratio 1.0. The gray curve is the normalized data in 2019, but shifted to make the two Spring Festivals aligned.

Overall the research in China shows pretty strong resistance to the virus outbreak. We do see a change in the usage pattern, despite the overall usage has restored to its normal level. Normally we expect to see a strong periodic weekly pattern, where weekday and weekend usages move between 1.25 and 0.75 (see the December portion on the left). Currently, the amplitude of the movement is relatively weak (see the February portion), which is presumably due to universities are still in the Internet-only operation mode. With students staying home, the distinction between weekdays and weekends is blur.

With a disease spreading exponentially, any resource thrown at it becomes unremarkable. The only way to contain it is to lower the exponent, currently through the long quarantines endured by the Chinese. We wish the best for the people fighting at the forefront and hope the biomedical research community can find a cure before it is too late.

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