by Juan Pablo Chauvin, blogs.iadb.org/
As the first wave of COVID-19 infections advances across the globe, more data becomes available that can help us better understand where we are, how we arrived here, and what may be on the horizon. This blog post explores what widely available data can tell us about how the much-cited curve of infections has progressed in different regions, and where Latin American and Caribbean countries stand as some plan to gradually reopen their locked-down economies.
Five Observable Stages of a COVID-19 Wave
Let us start by defining five stages of the wave of COVID-19 infections at the country level (Figure 1). These are largely based on the Pandemic Intervals Framework from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) but are constructed using publicly available data from the ongoing pandemic.
- Stage A: No cases detected. This is the period between when the disease was first reported in China (December 31, 2019) and the day of the first confirmed case in a given country. This stage is important from a policy standpoint, as multiple countries started implementing response policies before registering any confirmed cases.
- Stage B: Slow spread. The period between the first recorded case and the day the daily number of confirmed cases crosses a low-levels threshold (in this case, when more than one in a million people are infected daily).
- Stage C: Accelerating spread. The period in which daily confirmed cases remain high (above one in a million people) and increase consistently. This stage ends with the peak of the infection wave, once the number of new cases starts to drop.
- Stage D: Decelerating spread. The period in which daily confirmed cases remain high, but numbers drop consistently.
- Stage E: Stable low levels. The period after daily confirmed cases recede to low levels (below one per million) and stop increasing consistently…
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