State releases additional COVID-19 modeling data

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — On Sunday afternoon, the state released additional COVID-19 modeling data. Gov. Polis first provided an in-depth analysis of the data on March 27 during a press conference.

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled an expert team to assist the CDPHE in understanding the potential course of the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado.

A team of volunteer experts modeled the COVID-19 pandemic by using approaches tailored to Colorado specifically. The modeling is updated as the disease continues to spread.

According to a press release from the state, “the team uses the SEIR model. The basics of the models are intuitive: Prior to infection, individuals are susceptible (S) and once exposed (E) and infected (I) they are contagious, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic; those infected may recover and become resistant (R) or become sufficiently ill to need hospitalization and possibly critical care.”

Something else to note in the model is the reproductive number (R0). R0 is the average number of new cases generated per infected person at the beginning of the outbreak.

If the number exceeds one, then the infection will spread. The reproductive number depends on the frequency of contacts between infected and uninfected individuals.

By social distancing, the state says we will reduce contact with others which will lower that reproductive number. The target is to get the reproductive number below one so that the contagion ends.

There are two sets of numbers shown below:

Model R0 3.5 4.0 with SD 0 to 80

Model R0 3.0 4.0 SD 0 to 60

The numbers show the variation by the value of R0 at the beginning of the outbreak and the effectiveness of social distancing.

When the numbers were calculated, the team found that the R0 value for Colorado was likely above 3. To capture the uncertainty in R0 and the effectiveness of social distancing, estimates are provided for a range of values.

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