As soon as it was clear that the virus was swamping healthcare in Wuhan and threatening to engulf China more broadly, the Chinese government implemented radical social distancing measures, coupled with abundant free testing, attempting to slow the virus’s spread.

Yet, even these social distancing measures – stopping outbound transportation, stalling public transit and driving, implementing mandatory mask-wearing, cancelling social gatherings, and requiring home quarantines – proved insufficient to halt the expansion of the virus.

Then, on 1 February, Wuhan switched to centralized quarantine, a decision that research has shown was essential in containing the spread of the virus to such a small portion of the city’s population. By delaying the implementation of the more radical measures, Wuhan let their problem metastasize. Their governmental hesitation produced more deaths.