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|Early estimates of COVID-19 infections in small, medium and large population clusters|
|Dawd S Siraj.|
Amir S Siraj.
|Since its emergence in December 2019, COVID-19 has rapidly developed into a pandemic with many countries declaring emergency conditions to contain its spread. The impact of the disease, while has been relatively low in the Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) so far, is expected to be devastating given the less developed and fragmented health care system in the continent. In addition, most emergency measures such as border closings, cancellations of inbound flights, social distancing, and promotion of hand hygiene may not be as effective due to the clustered way people live in large as well as smaller population centers. As SSA waits for the start of large epidemics as seem in other regions, there exist acute need for estimates of the potential impacts of the disease once it gets strong hold in the region. To address this need, we developed a mathematical model with key parameters obtained from recent studies, to estimate the number of infections with in the first 90 days of the transmission under different scenarios of population sizes, initial number of cases, and coverage of contact tracing and isolation. Our results show that if implemented early, 80% contact tracing may "flattens the curve" of local epidemics, brings the pandemic to a manageable level for all population sizes we assessed. In countries with limited workforce, hospital resources and ICU care, a robust contact tracing program could yield in outcomes that prevent several millions of infections and thousands of deaths across the continent.|
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