Coronavirus in Colombia: We look at current Coronavirus statistics in Colombia and the measures taken by Colombia to minimize the threat of COVID-19.

Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Colombia on May 24 – a total of 21,175 cases (+998 up from May 23) with 727 deaths. 

Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about the current status of coronavirus in Colombia. So, we look at coronavirus cases in Colombia and compare to other countries in Latin America and look in detail at what measures Colombia is taking.

As of May 24, 2020, at 4:00 pm, according to Worldometers over 200 countries and territories in the world have reported that over 5,481,100 people have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, known as SARS-CoV2. And over 346,000 people have died from this virus worldwide and over 2,290,700 have recovered.

In addition, there are a number of myths out there about coronavirus that are simply not true. So, we also look at four of these myths in this article.

Editors note, there is a nationwide quarantine in Colombia that began on March 24. But on April 6, this quarantine was extended to April 26. And on April 20, this quarantine was extended again to May 11. Also, it was extended a third time to May 25 and a fourth time to May 31. So, the national quarantine is now for 68 days.

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Coronavirus Cases in Colombia

The first coronavirus case in Colombia was on March 6, 2020 and by May 24, the number of cases had grown to 21,175 cases. The following chart shows a running 6-day average of new coronavirus cases in Colombia, so you can see the trend of new cases for more than the past month.

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

The cases of coronavirus in Colombia are in the following departamentos (departments or states) in Colombia on May 24 with the change from the prior day in parenthesis (if any change) according to INS:

  • Bogotá DC – 7,211 cases (+237)
  • Atlántico – 2,774 cases (+170)
  • Valle del Cauca – 2,425 cases (+113)
  • Bolivar – 2,267 cases (+249)
  • Amazonas 1,450 cases (+62)
  • Antioquia – 720 cases (+43)
  • Meta – 968 cases (+2)
  • Nariño – 709 cases (+60)
  • Magdelena – 492 cases (+6)
  • Cundinamarca – 466 cases (+35)
  • Risaralda – 242 cases (+1)
  • Huila – 233 cases
  • Tolima – 188 cases (+2)
  • Boyacá – 159 cases (+7)
  • Caldas – 128 cases (+1)
  • Norte de Santander – 119 cases
  • Chocó 93 cases (+9)
  • Córdoba – 91 cases (+3)
  • Cesar – 90 cases (+3)
  • Quíndío – 89 cases (+1)
  • Cauca – 74 cases (+1)
  • Santander – 58 cases
  • La Guajira – 48 cases
  • Casanare – 26 cases
  • Caquetá – 21 cases
  • San Andrés and Providencia – 14 cases
  • Vaupés – 11 cases
  • Sucre – 5 cases
  • Putumayo – 3 cases
  • Arauca – 1 case

Red Cities in Colombia – Major Increase of Cases in Past 33 Days

In the 33 days from April 22 to May 24, a total of 80.3 percent of the coronavirus cases in Colombia were in the eight cities of Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Leticia, San Andrés de Tumaco, Soledad and Villavicencio, with the eight cities in Colombia averaging 414 cases per day. The rest of Colombia during these same 33 days averaged only 102 cases per day.

Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia with the most cases. Villavicencio has been experiencing a major outbreak of coronavirus in a prison and there has been an outbreak of cases in the Amazon (Leticia).

In addition, four smaller cities than Medellín (Cartagena, Barranquilla San Andrés de Tumaco and Soledad), experienced outbreaks in cases and passed the larger city of Medellín in number of cases. 

The following chart shows a running 6-day average of new coronavirus cases in Colombia along with the 6-day running average in the eight red cities and the rest of Colombia. Note the red line is the eight red cities and the blue line is all the rest of the cities in Colombia. And the black line is a running 6-day average of cases for all of Colombia.

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

Clearly this chart shows the increase in coronavirus cases in Colombia over the past 33 days is primarily due to a substantial increase in cases in only the eight cities of Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Leticia, San Andrés de Tumaco, Soledad and Villavicencio. The rest of Colombia (blue line) not including these eight cities has a relatively flat curve of new cases.

We have a separate article that looks in detail at the eight cities in Colombia experiencing a major increase in coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus Cases by City in Colombia

On May 24, the count of coronavirus cases were in the following list of cities and towns in Colombia with the change from the prior day in parenthesis (if any change) and the date of the last case in the city or town according to INS.

The following list over 80 cities and towns in green that haven’t experienced a new coronavirus case in over two weeks. And there are eight cities in red that experienced 80.3 percent the new cases in Colombia in the past 33 days.

  • Bogotá – 7,211 cases (+237) – last case on 5/24 – 5,479 new cases in past 33 days
  • Cartagena – 2,117 cases (+232) –  5/24 – 1,931 new cases in past 33 days
  • Cali – 1,911 cases (+89) – 5/24 – 1,363 new cases in past 33 days
  • Leticia – 1,410 cases (+62) – 5/24 – 1,404 new cases in past 33 days
  • Barranquilla – 1,450 cases (+117) 5/24  1,368 new cases in past 33 days
  • Villavicencio – 932 cases – 5/23 – 878 new cases in past 33 days
  • Soledad – 812 cases (+29) – 5/24 – 791 new cases in past 33 days
  • San Andrés de Tumaco – 464 cases (+43) – 5/24 – 456 new cases in past 33 days
  • Medellín – 441 cases (+13) 5/24
  • Santa Marta – 273 cases (+3) – 5/24
  • Buenaventura –  232 cases (+15) – 5/24
  • Malambo – 218 cases (+18) 5/24
  • Pereira – 168 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Soacha – 164 cases (+5) – 5/24
  • Ibagué – 149 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Neiva – 141 cases – 5/23
  • Ipiales – 123 cases – 5/23
  • Puebloviejo – 109 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Chocó – 93 cases (+9) – 5/24
  • Cúcuta – 88 cases – 5/20
  • Cienaga –  82 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Sabanagrande – 80 cases – 5/23
  • Dosquebradas – 68 cases – 5/17
  • Pasto – 68 cases (+5) – 5/24
  • Valledupar – 65 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Palmira – 61 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Ituango – 60 cases (+14) – 5/24
  • Armenia – 59 cases – 5/23
  • Turbaco – 58 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • La Dorada – 56 cases (+1) 5/24
  • Bello – 51 cases – 5/23
  • Monteria – 49 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Manizales – 41 cases – 5/23
  • Puerto Nariño – 40 cases – 5/18
  • Jamundí – 38 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Yumbo – 38 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Palmar de Varela – 37 cases – 5/22
  • Santo Tomás – 36 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Chía – 35 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Popayán – 32 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Galapa – 31 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Santa Rosa – 29 cases (+3) – 5/24
  • Envigado – 28 cases – 5/23
  • Tuluá – 28 cases (+1) 5/23
  • Tunja – 28 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Puerto Colombia – 27 cases – 5/23
  • Sabanalarga – 27 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Baranoa – 25 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Duitama – 24 cases – 5/22
  • Yopal – 23 cases – 5/13
  • Bucaramanga – 22 cases (+1) – 5/23
  • Villanueva – 22 cases (+4) – 5/24
  • Arjona – 21 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Cajicá – 21 cases – 5/21
  • Gigante – 21 cases – 5/15
  • Sahagún – 21 cases – 5/20
  • Florencia – 20 cases – 5/18
  • Zipaquirá – 20 cases (+3) – 5/24
  • Apartadó – 19 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Madrid – 19 cases (+2) – 5/24
  • Barrancabermeja – 18 cases – 5/23
  • El Cerrito – 18 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Funza – 18 cases – 5/23
  • Itagüí – 18 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Maicao – 18 cases – 5/17
  • Pitalito – 18 cases – 5/21
  • Facatativá – 17 cases (+3) – 5/24
  • Fusagasugá – 16 cases (+5) – 5/24
  • Acacías – 15 cases – 5/17
  • Cartago – 15 cases – 5/22
  • Mosquera (Nariño) – 15 cases (+11) – 5/24
  • Sabaneta – 15 cases (+1) 5/24
  • Turbo – 15 cases (+11) – 5/24
  • Candelaria (Valle) – 14 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Togüí – 14 cases – 4/26
  • Chiquinquirá – 13 cases – 5/20
  • Riohacha – 13 cases – 5/16
  • Rionegro – 13 cases – 5/20
  • Copacabana – 12 cases – 5/9
  • Guadalajara de Buga – 12 cases – 5/20
  • Oporapa – 12 cases – 5/10
  • Piendamó – 12 cases – 5/22
  • Polonuevo – 12 cases – 5/22
  • Calarcá – 11 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Cota – 11 cases – 5/15
  • Espinal – 11 cases – 5/23
  • Florida – 11 cases – 5/21
  • La Estrella – 11 cases – 5/22
  • Mitú – 11 cases – 5/13
  • Mosquera (Cundinamarca) – 11 cases – 5/23
  • Pacho – 11 cases – 4/17
  • San Andrés Island – 11 cases – 5/12
  • Zona Bananera – 11 cases – 5/15
  • Ocaña – 10 cases – 5/22
  • Floridablanca – 9 cases – 5/9
  • Girardot – 9 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Melgar – 9 cases – 5/16
  • Agustín Codazzi – 8 cases – 5/23
  • Dagua – 8 cases – 5/22
  • Fómeque – 8 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Granada (Meta) – 8 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Puerto Tejada – 8 cases – 5/23
  • Sibaté – 8 cases – 5/16
  • Sogamoso – 8 cases (+1) – 5/24
  • Sutamarchán – 8 cases – 5/22
  • Tocancipá – 8 cases – 5/12
  • Villamaría – 8 cases – 5/20
  • El Banco – 7 cases – 5/21
  • Lorica – 7 cases – 5/10 
  • Gachancipá – 7 cases – 5/15
  • San Juan del Cesar – 7 cases – 5/23
  • Sopó – 7 cases – 5/5
  • Tenjo – 7 cases – 5/23

Cities and Towns in Colombia with 1 to 6 Coronavirus Cases

The following cities and towns had six cases each on May 24:

Chinchiná, Cuaspúd, El Colegio (+4), Magangué, Miranda, Montenegro, Paipa, Potosí, Pradera (+1), Subachoque (+2), Timaná, Turbaná, Vijes and Villapinzón.

The following cities and towns had five cases each on May 24:

Algeciras, Canalete, Cómbita (+1), Garagoa, Guateque, La Plata, Manatí, Marquetalia, Palermo, Ponedera, Restrepo, Villa de Leyva, Villa del Rosario and Villeta.

The following cities and towns had four cases each on May 24:

Aipe, Albania, Caldas, Contadero, Cumbal, El Dovio, El Tambo, Girardot, La Tebaida, La Unión, Líbano, Los Patios, Santa Catalina, Santana, Santander de Quilichao, Sitionuevo, Suesca and Tibú.

The following cities and towns had three cases each on May 24:

Amazonas, Aracataca, Cereté (+1), Circasia, Cubará, Dibulla, Fundación, Guachucal, Guarne, Isnos, Marinilla (+1), Montebello, Moniquirá, Paicol, Providencia, Puerto López, San Agustin, San Juan de Arama, San Diego, San Pedro, San Cristobal, Santa Rosa de Cabal, Silvania, Sincelejo, Socha, Sogamoso, Tabio (+1), Timbio , Trujillo, Turmequé, Ventaquemada (+2) and Yotoco. 

The following cities and towns had two cases each on May 24:

Acevedo, Aguachica, Anapoima, Andalucía, Aquitania, Barbosa, Bosconia, Caloto, Chiriguaná, Cimitarra, Cucaita, Distracción, El Reten, Filandia, Flandes, Fonseca, Guacarí, Guamo (+1), Guatapé, Honda, La Calera, La Ceja, La Tola (+1), La Virginia, Manzanares, Marsella, Medina, Nilo (+1), Paya, Pamplona, Piedecuesta, Puerto Santander, Quimbaya, Río de Oro, Risaralda, Rovira, San Luis, Samacá, San Juan de Rioseco, San Martin, Santa Lucía, Sesquilé, Sonson, Tenza, Tierralta, Timbio, Tuquerres, Ubate, Unión Panamericana, Villa de San Diego de Ubaté (+1) and Viterbo.

And the following cities and towns in Colombia had one case each on May 24:

Ábrego, Aldana, Agrado, Aguadas, Alcalá, Amagá, Ancuyá, Andes, Angostura, Anserma, Arauca, Barranco de Loba, Barbosa, Becerril (+1), Belén, Bolívar, Bugalagrande, Cabuyaro (+1), Cácota, Calamar, Calima, Campoalegre, Campo de la Cruz, Candelaria (Atlántico), Cáqueza (+1), Caucasia, Cerrito, Chimá, Chipaque, Choachí, Chocontá (+1), Ciénaga de Oro, Cisneros, Clemencia, Cocorná, Cogua, Colombia, Concepción, Coper (+1), Córdoba, Cumbitara, Cundinamarca, Curití, Donmatías, El Bagre, El Carmen del Viboral, El Rosal, El Santuario, El Zulia, Frontino, Garzon, Ginebra, González, Granada (Antioquia), Guachené, Guaduas, Juan de Acosta, Junín (+1), La Florida, La Jagua de Ibirico, La Mesa (+1), La Paz, Linares, Los Palmitos, Luruaco, Mahates, Magüí, Mallama, María la Baja, Marmato, Meta, Miraflores, Montelíbano, Morroa, Muzo, Norcasia, Oicatá, Paz de Ariporo, Piedras, Planadas, Puerto Asís, Puerto Gaitán, Puerto Guzmán, Repelón, Retiro, Riosucio, Roldanillo, Saladoblanco, Samaná, San Antonio del Tequendama (+1), San Francisco, San Juan De Rio Seco, San Miguel, San Miguel de Sema, Santa Rosa de Osos, Santa Fe de Antioquia, San Pedro de Urabá, Santa Catalina, San Carlos de Guaroa, Santa Rosa de Viterbo, Santa Sofía, San Vicente del Caguán, Sitionuevo, Socorro, Sutamarchán, Timbiquí, Tinjacá, Tipacoque, Toledo, Totoró, Tubará, Ulloa, Une, Usiacurí, Venecia, Villa Rica and Villaponzón and Viracachá.

Also, as of May 24, Bogotá had 7,211 cases, which was 34.1 percent of the total 21,175 cases in Colombia.

COVID-19 Testing in Colombia

On May 24, 2020, Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) reported that it had completed a total of 252,742 COVID-19 tests in Colombia.

This means that Colombia has completed 4,979 COVID-19 tests per million people in Colombia based on a population of 50.8 million.

We compare this COVID-19 testing in Colombia with several other countries in Latin America as well to the U.S., UK and South Korea in the following table.

COVID-19 testing in several countries, source of data Worldometer and countries, 5/24

COVID-19 testing in several countries, source of data Worldometer and countries, 5/24

The testing rate for COVID-19 should increase in Colombia. On April 9, INS reported it plans to have capacity for 17,000 tests per day in a month. But this goal is questionable, as Colombia in the past week (May 11 to 17), Colombia completed less than 46,000 tests in an entire week.

For the week of May 4-10, Colombia averaged 4,656 tests per day. And the week of May 11-17, Colombia averaged 6,432 tests per day.

We have a separate article that looks at COVID-19 testing in Colombia in more detail.

More Details on the Coronavirus Cases in Colombia

The following chart shows the current status of coronavirus cases in Colombia on May 24:

Current status of coronavirus cases in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

Current status of coronavirus cases in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

The vast majority of coronavirus cases in Colombia are isolated at home and treated at home. Only 9.0 percent of cases were hospitalized in Colombia on May 24 according to INS out of the active cases that have not recovered or died.

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.

The following chart shows the age distribution of the coronavirus cases in Colombia on May 24:

Age distribution of Colombia coronavirus cases, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

Age distribution of Colombia coronavirus cases, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

In addition, 55.75 percent of cases in Colombia on May 23 were male and 44.25 percent were female.

Colombia Coronavirus Death Rate

On May 24, Colombia reported 727 deaths from coronavirus, which was a daily increase of 22 deaths from the previous day on May 23. Based on a total of 727 deaths and 21,175 cases, the overall coronavirus death rate in Colombia among confirmed cases on May 23 was 3.4 percent.

However, the death rate in Colombia varies based on age and we have a separate article that looks at the coronavirus death rate in Colombia by age and compares to other countries.

The following chart shows the daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia.

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

Coronavirus Cases in Other Countries in Latin America and the World

Several of the countries in Latin America have higher counts of confirmed coronavirus cases than in Colombia on May 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm according to Worldometers:

  • Brazil – 357,839 cases, 22,500 deaths
  • Peru – 119,959 cases, 3,456 deaths
  • Chile – 69,102 cases, 718 deaths
  • Mexico – 65,856 cases, 7,179 deaths
  • Ecuador – 36,258 cases, 3,096 deaths

The 15 countries in the world with the most confirmed coronavirus cases on May 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm according to Worldometers were:

  1. United States – 1,682,638 cases, 99,226 deaths
  2. Brazil – 357,839 cases, 22,500 deaths
  3. Russia – 344,481 cases, 3,541 deaths
  4. Spain – 282,852 cases, 28,752 deaths
  5. United Kingdom – 259,559 cases, 36,793 deaths
  6. Italy – 229,858 cases, 32,785 deaths
  7. France – 182,584 cases, 28,367 deaths
  8. Germany – 180,328 cases, 8,371 deaths
  9. Turkey – 156,8276 cases, 4,340 deaths
  10. India – 138,536 cases, 4,024 deaths
  11. Iran – 135,701 cases, 7,417 deaths
  12. Peru – 119,959 cases, 3,456 deaths
  13. Canada – 84,657 cases, 6,424 deaths
  14. China – 82,974 cases, 4,634 deaths
  15. Saudi Arabia – 72,560 cases, 390 deaths

Many foreign tourists that arrived in Colombia in early 2020 have started renewing tourist visas to enable staying in Colombia for up to 180 days instead of returning to their home country where coronavirus case counts are much higher and increasing at alarming rates.

In addition, some of these foreign tourist are pursuing Colombian visas to enable staying in Colombia longer.

What is Colombia Doing About Coronavirus?

On March 19, 2020, President Iván Duque announced that starting on March 23 the arrival of international travelers to Colombia will be suspended for a period of 30 days including banning incoming international flights. This ban includes all travelers including Colombians and foreigner residents.

According to the Minister of transport, international flights will continue to be restricted in Colombia until August 31, 2020.

The following measures were put in place starting on March 12 in Colombia to minimize the public health threats posed by coronavirus.

All events with more than 50 people must be cancelled in Colombia starting on March 16. This impacts many planned events in Colombia. So, many events including concerts, conventions and other large events are cancelled.

In addition, Colombia has suspended the transit of cruise ships to Colombia.  Furthermore, at 5:00 am on March 14 Colombia closed its border with Venezuela Also, starting on March 17, Colombia closed all its land, sea and river borders. The border closure will restrict the entry and exit of Colombia for all nationals and foreigners.

Quarantines in Colombia Due to Coronavirus

Major cities in Colombia including Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Cartagena were under quarantines over the Saint Joseph’s Day (Día de San José) holiday weekend in Colombia from March 20 to March 24. So, up to about a third of Colombia was locked down:

Quarantine for all of Colombia from March 24 to May 31

President Iván Duque announced at night on March 20 that Colombia will have a mandatory nationwide quarantine from Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm, until Monday, April 13 at midnight.

But on April 6, this quarantine was extended to April 26 at 11:59 pm. And on April 20, the quarantine was extended again to May 11 and was extended a third time to May 25 and extended a fourth time to May 31. So, the national quarantine is now for 68 days.

Also, President Duque tweeted that “Essential activities, such as access to health services, purchase of food and medicine, access to banking and postal services, provision of essential public services and security services, among others, will be guaranteed.” We have a separate article about the quarantine in Colombia.

Trajectory of Coronvirus cases after 100 cases in Western countries, source FT, March 25

Trajectory of Coronvirus cases after 100 cases in Western countries, source FT, March 25

Why Quarantine and Other Measures? – Flatten the Curve

With a nationwide quarantine, Colombia is trying to avoid a rapid spike of coronavirus cases that could overwhelm the health care system in Colombia by “flattening the curve,” or spreading out the number of coronavirus cases over a longer period.

Mitigation efforts like a quarantine, cancelling international flights, closing places where people congregate and limiting the size of events and quarantines are mitigation efforts that can reduce the number of daily cases and reduce pressure on the healthcare system in Colombia.

Colombian has acted faster than most countries in putting in place measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The following table compares how many days from the first case of coronavirus in several countries until putting in place measures like closing schools nationwide or closing incoming air travel.

How many days from first coronavirus case in countries until put in place preventive measures, March 23, 2020

How many days from first coronavirus case in countries until put in place preventive measures, March 23, 2020

As a result of Colombia rapidly implementing preventive measures, Colombia started to experience a flatter curve for coronavirus cases than several other countries, as seen in the following graphic (Colombia is the dark blue line at the bottom of the graphic):

Coronavirus Trajectory Curve by Country, Number of cases on # of Days Past 100 Cases, data source John Hopkins University, 4/19

Coronavirus Trajectory Curve by Country, Number of cases on # of Days Past 100 Cases, data source John Hopkins University, 4/19

What is Coronavirus and How Does it Compare to the Flu?

Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Myth 1 – If you have coronavirus, “you will know”

Not really, COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms, many of which are common in other respiratory illnesses such as the common cold or flu.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, similar to other respiratory illnesses. And rarer symptoms include nausea, dizziness, vomiting and a runny nose.

In severe cases of COVID-19, the disease can progress into a serious pneumonia-like illness — but early on, infected people may show no symptoms at all.

The virus causes mild respiratory infections in about 80 percent of those infected, though about half will have pneumonia. Another 15 percent develop severe illness, and 5 percent need critical care.

Myth 2 – Coronavirus is less deadly than the flu

Reportedly the COVID-19 coronavirus has a transmissibility rate estimated from 2.0 to 3.1 people that an infected person typically makes sick. This compares to the flu (influenza) with a transmissibility rate from 1.3 to 1.8 people. And SARS has a transmissibility rate from 2 to 4 people.

Case-fatality ratio is the number of people killed by disease divided by the number of people who catch it. Seasonal flu, technically kills a relatively small proportion of its cases, with a case-fatality ratio of around 0.1 percent.

The reason the flu is a major public health problem is because it infects many people, 35.5 million in the U.S. from 2018 to 2019, which led to 490,000 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.

SARS had a case-fatality rate of 10 percent, about 100 times higher than influenza, and the rate for the new coronavirus case-fatality rate is currently reportedly about 3.4 percent of reported cases.

Myth 3 – Children and young adults are more likely to die from coronavirus infections

The China CDC reported on February 11 based on data from 72,314 cases of those diagnosed with COVID-19 and found that older adults in China have been hit the hardest by COVID-19:

  • 14.8 percent death rate for those infected with ages 80 and older,
  • 8 percent for ages 70 to 79,
  • 3.6 percent for ages 60 to 69,
  • 1.3 percent for 50 to 59,
  • 0.4 percent for the age group 40 to 49,
  • 0.2 percent for people ages 10 to 39,
  • No deaths in children under 9 reported.

We have a separate article about the coronavirus death rate in Colombia with death rates being experienced in Colombia by age.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

According to the CDC in the U.S.:

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness like COVID-19 with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Also, if you are sick to keep from spreading respiratory illness like coronavirus to others you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with tissues, then throw the tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wear a face-mask if you are sick and around other people.
Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, photo by Chad Davis

Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, photo by Chad Davis

Myth 4 – Face masks can protect you from the virus

Standard face masks cannot really protect you, as they are not designed to block out viral particles and they do not lay flush to the face. A more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can protect against the virus.

According to the CDC:

Face masks are loose-fitting and provide only barrier protection against droplets, including large respiratory particles. Most face masks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales.

The role of face masks is for patient source control, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes.  Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear a face mask until they are isolated in a hospital or at home.

So, a standard face masks can’t really protect you from the virus. But China and other countries in Asia have using face masks widely. George Gao, Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even said:

The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.

If everyone wore a mask, then those in public who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic would not so easily spread to others.

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Colombia has 24 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 2017, Colombia had 20 of the top 49 clinics and hospitals in Latin America. And in 2018, Colombia had 23 of the top 58 hospitals. So, the count in 2019 has 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.

Number to Call in Medellín if You Think You Have Coronavirus

Medellín uses the 123 emergency phone number for coronavirus reports.

People who in the last two weeks have been in countries where the virus circulates, and who have symptoms such as cough, fever, nasal congestion and muscle fatigue, or who have been in contact with patients who meet with the above criteria can call this emergency number.

Medellín asks residents to make responsible use of this single line of emergencies, and also recommends consulting EPS health insurance websites.

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: Coronavirus in Colombia: Current Status

The bottom line is that Colombia had 21,175 coronavirus cases as of May 24, 2020. This is why several cities in Colombia had quarantines that started on March 20 and Colombia is doing a nationwide quarantine in Colombia that started on March 24 until May 31.

Colombia closed its border faster than other countries have done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It remains to be seen how effective these measures will be in Colombia.

Coronavirus is a fast-moving topic. So, Medellin Guru expects to update this popular article daily.

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Editors note: updated on April 12, 2020 at 6:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 13, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 14, 2020 at 6:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 15, 2020 at 5:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 16, 2020 at 5:40 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 18, 2020 at 6:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 20 at 6:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts and updated again at 8:10 pm with information about the quarantine in Colombia being extended to May 11.

Editors note: updated on April 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 22, 2020 at 6:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 23, 2020 at 6:40 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 24, 2020 at 6:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 25, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 26, 2020 at 6:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 27, 2020 at 6:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 29, 2020 at 7:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on April 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 1, 2020 at 7:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 3, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 5, 2020 at 8:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts and added that the quarantine in Colombia is extended to May 25.

Editors note: updated on May 6, 2020 at 6:45 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 9, 2020 at 7:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 10, 2020 at 8:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts and added daily coronavirus deaths graphic.

Editors note: updated on May 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts and added chart comparing new daily cases in several problem cities with the rest of Colombia.

Editors note: updated on May 12, 2020 at 7:40 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 13, 2020 at 8:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 14, 2020 at 8:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 15, 2020 at 8:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 16, 2020 at 8:15 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 17, 2020 at 8:25 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 19, 2020 at 9:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts and added information that the quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 31.

Editors note: updated on May 20, 2020 at 8:45 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 21, 2020 at 8:20 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 22, 2020 at 7:45 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 23, 2020 at 8:30 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

Editors note: updated on May 24, 2020 at 8:20 pm with current coronavirus case counts.

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