Despite China's success in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak insofar, a March 31 Science paper that analyzes the response has this intriguing (and alarming) observation
The dispersal of COVID-19 from Wuhan was rapid (Fig. 3A). A total of 262 cities reported cases within 28 days. For comparison, the 2009 influenza H1N1 pandemic took 132 days to reach the same number of cities in China (see methods in Supplementary Materials).
China was surely less developed economically a decade ago, but still the 132 vs 28 days is a large difference. That paper doesn't seem to advance any hypothesis for this difference. So, is any of it based on intrinsic differences between the two viruses, or is it all down to so social movements having changed dramatically in China? Are there any other papers (e.g. on other regions on the world) that can shed some light on this? E.g. was the spread of COVID-19 as fast in Italy as it was in China, for example, and the spread of H1N1/09 just as slow?