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calendar_month Publicación: 01/02/2021

The impact of quarantine on Covid-19 infections

Objectives: Coronavirushas had profound effects on people’s lives and the economy of many countries, generating controversy between the need to establish quarantines and other social distancing measures to protect people’s health and the need to reactivate the economy. This study proposes and applies a modification of the SIR infection model to describe the evolution of coronavirus infections and to measure the effect of quarantine on the number of people infected.

Methods: Two hypotheses, not necessarily mutually exclusive, are proposed for the impact of quarantines. According to the first hypothesis, quarantine reduces the infection rate, delaying new infections over time without modifying the total number of people infected at the end of the wave. The second hypothesis establishes that quarantine reduces the population infected in the wave. The two hypotheses are tested with data for a sample of 10 districts in Santiago, Chile.

Results: The results of applying the methodology show that the proposed model describes well the evolution of infections at the district level. The data shows evidence in favor of the first hypothesis, quarantine reduces the infection rate; and not in favor of the second hypothesis, that quarantine reduces the population infected. Districts of higher socio-economic levels have a lower infection rate, and quarantine is more effective.

Conclusions: Quarantine, in most districts, does not reduce the total number of people infected in the wave; it only reduces the rate at which they are infected. The reduction in the infection rate avoids peaks that may collapse the health system.

Keywords: covid-19; epidemiology; impact of quarantine


10, s1, Article 20200038

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