We look at the Coronavirus death rate in Colombia for different ages. We also look at the Coronavirus recovery rate and hospitalization rate in Colombia.

Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about the coronavirus death rate in Colombia by age if they happen to get infected. And we haven’t seen this published anywhere in English, so we researched this.

Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Colombia on January 22 – a total of 1,987,418 cases with 50,586 deaths.

Keep in mind that the death rates we look at in this article is based on confirmed cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) previously estimated that the death rate among confirmed coronavirus cases (“case fatality rate” or CFR) is about 3.4 percent worldwide but this varies by country.

In addition, WHO held a two-day online meeting of 1,300 scientists from around the world in early July. And the agency’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said the consensus for now was that the infection fatality rate (IFR) for coronavirus is about 0.6 percent globally — which means that the risk of death is less than 1 percent. But this can vary by region and country.

However, IFR is difficult to calculate and depend on estimates, as IFR requires knowing how many are infected, not just how many have diagnosis confirmed with tests.

The death rate also depends on a range of factors like your age and general health, as well as the medical care you have access to.

Furthermore, an analysis of more than 44,000 cases from China found that deaths were at least five times more common among confirmed cases with diabetes, high blood pressure or heart or breathing problems.

Colombia Coronavirus Death Rate

Based on a total of 1,987,418 cases with 50,586 deaths, the overall coronavirus death rate in Colombia among confirmed cases on January 22 was 2.6 percent. This is known as the “case fatality rate” (CFR) based on number of confirmed cases.

However, this death rate among confirmed cases varies based on age as seen in the following table:

Coronavirus death rate by age in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan 15

Coronavirus death rate by age in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan 15

Also, in the above table we compare the death rate in Colombia by age with Italy and China. Colombia’s coronavirus death rate by age so far is relatively similar to what was experienced in Italy. Note this death rate is the case fatality rate (CFR) that is number of deaths divided by number of cases.

In addition, it is important to note that 77.9 percent of the coronavirus deaths in Colombia as of January 15 have been aged 60 or older.

Colombia’s Ministry of Heath way overestimated the death rate in Colombia from coronavirus. Colombia initially estimated that by May 2020, Colombia would have 2,500 deaths from coronavirus but the actual number on May 31 was only 939 deaths.

The following chart shows the daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia for over a month by the date deaths were reported by INS up to January 22:

Daily reported coronavirus deaths in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 22

Daily reported coronavirus deaths in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 22

Note that there is a lag between the dates of actual deaths from coronavirus and reporting of deaths. So, the above chart of daily reported deaths does not show the true picture.

For example, the following chart shows that on November 5, 187 of the 196 reported deaths on this date actually occurred on earlier dates. This chart shows that the daily coronavirus deaths by actual death dates in Colombia (not reported dates) have been declining since mid-August.

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia on the actual dates of deaths, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Nov. 5

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia on the actual dates of deaths, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Nov. 5

Coronavirus Death Rate Per Million

As of January 22, Colombia was experiencing a Coronavirus death rate of 990.9 per million population in the country based on confirmed deaths.

Furthermore, Colombia is experiencing a lower Coronavirus death rate per million population compared to several countries as seen in the following table:

Coronavirus death rate per million population, source of data Worldometer and countries, Jan. 22

Coronavirus death rate per million population, source of data Worldometer and countries, Jan. 22

For example, in the table, the U.S. is experiencing a coronavirus death rate that is 1.29 times higher per million in population than in Colombia. Also, in Peru, the coronavirus death rate is 1.20 times higher than in Colombia per million in population. 

On January 22, Colombia was ranked #27 in the World in terms of coronavirus deaths per million according to Worldometers. Five countries in Latin America had a higher coronavirus death rate per million population than Colombia. The following are country rankings for deaths per million in several Latin American countries from Worldometers on January 22.

  • Peru #17
  • Panama #19
  • Mexico #20
  • Argentina #25
  • Brazil #26
  • Colombia #27

The Death Rate in Confirmed Cases is Not the Overall Death Rate

Keep in mind that most cases of viruses tend to go uncounted because people generally do not to visit the doctor with mild symptoms.

The first death rate used in this article is the “case fatality rate” (CFR), which is the most commonly used measure of the risk of dying, as it can easily be measured and is not an estimate. This is simple to calculate, as it is dividing the confirmed coronavirus deaths by the confirmed coronavirus cases. On January 22, this was 2.6 percent for Colombia.

The second death rate used in the article is the “crude mortality rate” (CMR), which measures the probability that any individual in the population will die from the disease. This is calculated by dividing the number of deaths from the disease by the population. For Colombia this was 990.9 per million or 0.0991 percent on January 22. 

We do not use a third death rate in this article known as “infection fatality rate” (IFR), as this depends on knowing how many are infected. The total number of cases is not known since most cases of viruses tend to go uncounted because people generally do not to visit the doctor with mild symptoms. So, the IFR cannot be accurately calculated, at best it is an estimate.

How deadly is coronavirus? Scientists are searching for an answer. As mentioned above at the beginning of this article, the World Health Organization (WHO) held a two-day online meeting of 1,300 scientists from around the world in early July. 

As a result of this meeting, the agency’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said the consensus for now was that the infection fatality rate (IFR) for coronavirus is about 0.6 percent globally — which means that the risk of death is less than 1 percent. But this can vary by region and country.

That means the global infection fatality rate (IFR) for coronavirus was estimated by WHO in July at 0.6 percent.

Colombia Coronavirus Recovery Rate

On January 22, 2021 in Colombia, 1,811,552 out of 1,987,418 cases on this date had recovered, which is a recovery rate of 90.8 percent of the total coronavirus cases. So, almost 92 percent of the coronavirus cases in Colombia as of January 9 had recovered.

In the month of March 2020 when the pandemic started, the number of daily recoveries from coronavirus were less than 40 each day.

The number of coronavirus recoveries have been increasing in Colombia over the past several months. The following are the number of coronavirus recoveries reported each day over a period of 10 days:

  • January 13 – 18,111 recoveries
  • January 14 – 18,832 recoveries
  • January 15 – 14,622 recoveries
  • January 16 – 14,622 recoveries
  • January 17 – 17,709 recoveries
  • January 18 – 24.589 recoveries
  • January 19 – 15,713 recoveries
  • January 20 – 16,235 recoveries
  • January 21 – 14,964 recoveries
  • January 22 – 10,418 recoveries

A WHO analysis of Chinese coronavirus data showed that it takes two weeks on average to recover from COVID-19.

Recovery time also depends on how sick you become in the first place. Some people will recover quickly. But for others an infection could leave lasting problems.

Most people who are infected with COVID-19 develop only the main symptoms, which are a cough or fever. In addition, they could experience headaches, body aches, fatigue and a sore throat. These symptoms are treated with plenty of fluids, bed rest and pain medication.

Colombia Coronavirus Hospitalization Rate

On January 22, Colombia had 119,717 active coronavirus cases. The vast majority of active coronavirus cases in Colombia are isolated at home and treated at home. 

A total of 18.0 percent of active cases were hospitalized in Colombia on January 22 according to INS out of the active cases that have not recovered or died.

On January 22, 18,184 active and confirmed coronavirus cases were in hospital rooms plus another 2,511 confirmed cases in the ICU for a total of 20,695 cases in the hospital.

The following are the counts of confirmed coronavirus cases hospitalized in Colombia by day including how many were in the ICU from January 11 to January 22:

  • January 11 – 22,888 total hospitalized, including 2,122 in the ICU
  • January 12 – 22,071 total hospitalized, including 2,121 in the ICU
  • January 13 – 22,345 total hospitalized, including 2,135 in the ICU
  • January 14 – 22,428 total hospitalized, including 2,215 in the ICU
  • January 15 – 23,119 total hospitalized, including 2,606 in the ICU
  • January 16 – 23,119 total hospitalized, including 2,606 in the ICU
  • January 17 – 20,307 total hospitalized, including 2,511 in the ICU
  • January 18 – 20,600 total hospitalized, including 2,561 in the ICU
  • January 19 – 20,375 total hospitalized, including 2,490 in the ICU
  • January 20 – 20,874 total hospitalized, including 2,460 in the ICU
  • January 21 – 20,755 total hospitalized, including 2,500 in the ICU
  • January 22 – 20,695 total hospitalized, including 2,511 in the ICU

So, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the ICU in Colombia hasn’t grown very much as the number of coronavirus cases grew dramatically over these 12 days. The coronavirus case count in Colombia increased by a total of 170,442 cases over these 12 days but apparently less than 1 percent of these new cases over these 12 days ended up in the ICU.

However, keep in mind that unconfirmed but suspected coronavirus cases are in the ICU not included in the above numbers and there are other types of patients in the ICUs. So, ICU utilization has surpassed 70 percent in some cities in Colombia.

If you want to see hospitalization rates in cities and towns in Colombia you can see this on the Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) website. There is a muncipio tab where you can find coronavirus information including hospitalization rates by municipality in Colombia.

We have a separate article that look at coronavirus hospitalization in Colombia in more detail including the capacity of hospitals and ICU rooms in Colombia and ICU utilization in the largest four cities in Colombia.

Colombia has 23 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Colombia has 23 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Healthcare in Colombia

Colombia has 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America, according to a study in late 2019 by América Economia. So, 41 percent of the best hospitals in Latin America are found in Colombia. Nine of these best hospitals in Latin America are located in Medellín and nine are in Bogotá.

In 2018, Colombia had 23 of the top 58 hospitals. So, the count in 2019 increased to 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America for 2019.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries it ranked. And no other countries in Latin America were ranked higher than Colombia. So, according to WHO, Colombia has the best healthcare system in Latin America.

Also, Colombia’s healthcare system is ranked higher than many wealthier countries like the United States (#37), Germany (#25), Canada (#30) and Australia (#32).

In Colombia, it is possible to have access to world-class healthcare at a fraction of the cost compared to the healthcare costs in North America or Europe. Furthermore, the costs for healthcare in Colombia can be significantly lower than the costs found in the U.S.

Due to having the best healthcare system in Latin America, Colombia is probably better positioned than many other countries in Latin America to handle coronavirus.

Health Insurance in Colombia

Health insurance is relatively inexpensive in Colombia and will cover you if you happen to catch COVID-19.

One of the reasons that Colombia has such a highly rated healthcare system is due to a new constitution that Colombia drafted in 1991 that made access to healthcare a basic human right to all citizens of Colombia, as well as foreign residents of Colombia.

There are three types of health insurance available in Colombia:

  1. EPS – Entidadas Promotoras de Salud– this is the public health insurance that is mandatory for everybody who is a resident of Colombia. The monthly premium is calculated as 12.5 percent of the monthly gross income that you declare to the EPS.
  2. Prepagada – this is private healthcare insurance in Colombia. The monthly premium for Prepagada varies depending on your age, the plan you choose and any pre-existing conditions.
  3. SISBEN – this is a free government subsidized healthcare system, which is only for very poor or homeless Colombians.

Medellin Guru has partnered with an insurance broker to offer health insurance and other insurance products like life insurance, homeowners insurance and auto insurance to foreigners and Colombians.

We partnered with Angela Berrio, who is a bilingual insurance broker who speaks English and Spanish. And she has many foreigner clients.

Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service

Angela’s company offers insurance services to all foreigners and Colombians who need assistance in their process of finding the best insurance protection while living in Colombia. With over ten years of experience, they design the plan that best fits your needs allowing you to enjoy your life abroad.

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

The Bottom Line: Colombia Coronavirus Death Rate – What are the Chances of Dying?

Colombia is experiencing a lower coronavirus death rate per million than in several other countries in Latin America including Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

The bottom line answer to foreigners asking about the Colombia coronavirus death rate is that you have a higher chance of dying the older you are. This is just like in other countries.

The lowest death rate in Colombia out of confirmed cases is for those aged 9 or under – only 0.1 percent as of January 15. This compares to 27.2 percent for those over 80 years-old.

Also, underlying health conditions such as asthma, cancer, pulmonary disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and diabetes put you at greater risk with coronavirus.

Stay safe!  And protect yourself from COVID-19 by:

  • Staying home as much as possible.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people when you are out.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a face mask.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on December 15, 2020 with Colombia coronavirus, death, recovery and hospitalization statistics from December 14.

Editors note: updated on December 20, 2020 with Colombia coronavirus, death, recovery and hospitalization statistics from December 19.

Editors note: updated on December 28, 2020 with Colombia coronavirus, death, recovery and hospitalization statistics from December 27.

Editors note: updated on January 2, 2021 with Colombia coronavirus, death, recovery and hospitalization statistics from January 1.

Editors note: updated on January 10, 2021 with Colombia coronavirus, death, recovery and hospitalization statistics from January 9.

Editors note: updated on January 16, 2021 with Colombia coronavirus, death, recovery and hospitalization statistics from January 15.

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