Is it more scattered and inconsistent than other epidemiological data though? I don't do epi, but have read enough to say that the argument that its quite the opposite can be made.
That being said, everything comes down to local data at this point as a way of implementing targeted public health interventions. However, that requires competent government.
I certainly think it's reasonable to say that it's been more scattered.. First, there wasn't testing for several weeks, if I'm remembering right, China wouldn't even help produce the virus so that testing could be developed.. Coupled with this brand new virus, symptoms have been evolving from day one, compared to the flu which has a pretty set standard of "this is what the flu generally looks like, these are the folks you should test/track"..