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Revista de Salud Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0124-0064


GONZALEZ-JARAMILLO, Valentina et al. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Colombian population according to mitigation measures. Preliminary data from epidemiological models for the period March 18 to April 18, 2020. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2020, vol.22, n.2, e201.  Epub 07-Abr-2020. ISSN 0124-0064.


First case of COVID-19 in Colombia was diagnosed on March 6th. Two weeks later, cases have rapidly increased, leading the government to establish some mitigation measures.


The first objective is to estimate and model the number of cases, use of hospital resources and mortality by using different R0 scenarios in a 1-month scenario (from March 18 to April 18, 2020), based on the different isolation measures applied. This work also aims to model, without establishing a time horizon, the same outcomes given the assumption that eventually 70% of the population will be infected.

Materials and Methods

Data on the number of confirmed cases in the country as of March 18, 2020 (n=93) were taken as the basis for the achievement of the first objective. An initial transmission rate of R0= 2.5 and a factor of 27 for undetected infections per each confirmed case were taken as assumptions for the model. The proportion of patients who may need intensive care or other in-hospital care was based on data from the Imperial College of London. On the other hand, an age-specific mortality rate provided by the Instituto Superiore di Sanità in Italy was used for the second objective.


Based on the 93 cases reported as of March 18, if no mitigation measures were applied, by April 18, the country would have 613 037 cases. Mitigation measures that reduce R0 by 10% generate a 50% reduction in the number of cases. However, despite halving the number of cases, there would still be a shortfall in the number of beds required and only one in two patients would have access to this resource.


This model found that the mitigation measures implemented to date by the Colombian government and analyzed in this article are based on sufficient evidence and will help to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Colombia. Although a time horizon of one month was used for this model, it is plausible to believe that, if the current measures are sustained, the mitigation effect will also be sustained over time.

Palavras-chave : Pandemic; Coronavirus; public health; epidemiology (source: MeSH, NLM).

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