Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2020, Vol. 30 ›› Issue (12): 1963-1984.doi: 10.1007/s11442-020-1822-8

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Comparison of spatio-temporal transmission characteristics of COVID-19 and its mitigation strategies in China and the US

FENG Zhiming1,2(), XIAO Chiwei1,2,*(), LI Peng1,2, YOU Zhen1,2, YIN Xu1,2, ZHENG Fangyu1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2020-09-10 Accepted:2020-10-13 Online:2020-12-25 Published:2021-02-25
  • Contact: XIAO Chiwei;
  • About author:Feng Zhiming (1963‒), PhD and Professor, specialized in geography of natural resources and sustainable utilization of land resources. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA20010203);Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (STEP)(2019QZKK1006)


Investigating the spatio-temporal transmission features and process of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mitigation strategies are of great practical significance to understand the development of COVID-19 and establish international cooperation for prevention and control. In this paper, the cumulative number of confirmed cases, number of confirmed cases per day and cumulative number of deaths, were used to compare transmission paths, outbreaks timelines, and coping strategies of COVID-19 in China and the US. The results revealed that: first, the COVID-19 outbreaks in both China and the US exhibited a 6-week initiation stage. In China, the COVID-19 erupted in late January. It lasted only a short period of time and was almost completely contained within 6-8 weeks. But the COVID-19 erupted in early March in the US and was still in the peak or post-peak stage. Second, in China, the COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan and spread to other regions of Hubei Province and then nationwide, exhibiting a cross(“+”)-shaped of spread with Wuhan city as the center. Importantly, the COVID-19 in China had a large concentration and there were no national outbreaks. In contrast, the COVID-19 in the US first spread through New York and the western and eastern coasts but has since emerged throughout the entire country. Third, the lack of emergency response planning in both countries in the early stage (about 6-week) hampered COVID-19 prevention. However, actively high-pressure prevention and control measures were used to basically control COVID-19 in early March in China. And then China has gradually resumed business and production activities. Unfortunately, the US government missed the best opportunity to contain the epidemic. Faced with the choice between economic recovery and coronavirus containment, the US removed the quarantine and restriction measures too early. The COVID-19 is continuing to spread in the country and blossom everywhere, still showing no signs of receding.

Key words: COVID-19, spatio-temporal transmission, timelines, mitigation strategy, China, the US