We look at Bogotá and why it is the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia. Bogotá has experienced 29.3 percent of all coronavirus cases in Colombia since the start of the pandemic.

Several Medellin Guru readers have asked about coronavirus in Bogotá and if the city is the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia.

In addition, we have seen some inaccurate news articles in the past few months claiming that the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia was in the Caribbean coast and that the epicenter had moved to Antioquia and Medellín in August and again moved to Antioquia and Medellín in October.

However, Bogotá actually has more coronavirus cases than Antioquia or more coronavirus cases than the three departments in Colombia along the Caribbean coast on January 30:

  • Bogotá – 610,855 cases
  • Antioquia – 324,932 cases
  • Three Caribbean departments (Atlántico, Bolivar and Magdelena) – 207,823 cases

So, how can Antioquia or the Caribbean or Antioquia or another part of Colombia be considered the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia?

The bottom line is Bogotá is and remains the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia. Bogotá has more total coronavirus cases than any other city in Colombia. Also, Bogotá has more active coronavirus cases than in any other city in Colombia.

Why is Bogotá the epicenter? Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia and is densely populated. Also, Bogotá has El Dorado Airport, which is the largest international airport in Colombia. When the pandemic started in Colombia, reportedly up to 40 percent of initial coronavirus cases in Colombia were traced back to this airport.

View of Bogotá from Monserrate

View of Bogotá from Monserrate

Coronavirus Status in Bogotá

Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia with a population of about 7.4 million. The first coronavirus case in Bogotá was on March 6, 2020. And the peak of new daily coronavirus cases in Bogotá was reached on January 15 with 8,445cases.

The following is the coronavirus status in Bogotá on January 30 according to Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS):

  • Total cases: 610,855
  • Active cases: 42,315
  • PCR tests completed: 2,385,783
  • Coronavirus deaths: 12,559
  • Coronavirus hospitalization: 3,331 in the hospital and 1,530 in the ICU (confirmed cases)

The following table compares these Bogotá statistics with the overall Colombia statistics to show what percent of the total in Colombia for each statistic are in Bogotá.

Comparing Bogotá with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Comparing Bogotá with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

So, Bogotá as of January 30 had nearly 15 percent of the population of Colombia but Bogotá had 29.3 percent of all coronavirus cases in Colombia, 38.9 percent of active cases and 23.4 percent of coronavirus deaths in Colombia.

In addition, as the largest city in Colombia with the most testing labs, Bogotá has done 33.2 percent of all PCR tests in Colombia, which is 331,520 PCR tests per million.

The following chart shows a running 7-day average of daily coronavirus cases in Bogotá, so you can see the trend of new cases for several months.

7-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases in Bogotá, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

7-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases in Bogotá, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

The rolling 7-day average of daily cases in Bogotá peaked in mid-January. Bogotá is the city in Colombia that has contributed the most to the daily increase in coronavirus cases in Colombia. And as cases started to drop in Bogotá the number of cases also dropped in Colombia overall.

The following chart shows a running 6-day average of daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, so you can compare with the chart for Bogotá above and see the trend of new cases for more than the past month.

7-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 31

7-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 31

How Does Bogotá Compare to Other Cities in Colombia?

The four largest cities in Colombia are the four cities in Colombia with the most coronavirus cases on January 30:

  1. Bogotá – 610,855 cases
  2. Medellín – 181,964 cases
  3. Cali – 121,602 cases
  4. Barranquilla – 69,790 cases

The following table compares these four cities in terms of total cases per million, active cases per million and coronavirus deaths per million.

Comparing four cities in terms of total cases, active cases and deaths per million, Jan 30

Comparing four cities in terms of total cases, active cases and deaths per million, Jan 30

Bogotá has more total cases and active cases per million out of all four cities.

The following sections show the status of coronavirus on December 7 in Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla and compares with the totals in Colombia:

View of Medellín from Pueblito Paisa, photo by Jenny Bojinova

View of Medellín from Pueblito Paisa, photo by Jenny Bojinova

Coronavirus Status in Medellín

The following are the coronavirus status in Medellín on January 30 according to Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS):

  • Total cases: 181,964
  • Active cases: 9,395
  • PCR tests completed: 594,581
  • Coronavirus deaths: 3,208
  • Coronavirus hospitalization: 913 in the hospital and 168 in the ICU (confirmed cases)

The following table compares these Medellín statistics with the overall Colombia statistics to show what percent of the total in Colombia for each statistic are in Medellín.

Comparing Medellín with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Comparing Medellín with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Medellín has done 8.3 percent of the PCR tests in Colombia or 244,986 PCR tests per million in population.

Coronavirus Status in Cali

The following are the coronavirus status in Cali on January 30 according to Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS):

  • Total cases: 121,602
  • Active cases: 7,838
  • PCR tests completed: 422,970
  • Coronavirus deaths: 3,398
  • Coronavirus hospitalization: 1,293 in the hospital and 261 in the ICU (confirmed cases)

The following table compares these Cali statistics with the overall Colombia statistics to show what percent of the total in Colombia for each statistic are in Cali.

Comparing Cali with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Comparing Cali with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Cali has done 5.9 percent of the PCR tests in Colombia or 189,843 PCR tests per million in population.

Coronavirus Status in Barranquilla

The following are the coronavirus status in Barranquilla on January 30 according to Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS):

  • Total cases: 69,790
  • Active cases: 2,291
  • PCR tests completed: 452,239
  • Coronavirus deaths: 2,108
  • Coronavirus hospitalization: 102 in the hospital and 13 in the ICU (confirmed cases)

The following table compares these Barranquilla statistics with the overall Colombia statistics to show what percent of the total in Colombia for each statistic are in Barranquilla.

Comparing Barranquilla with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Comparing Barranquilla with Colombia coronavirus stats, source Instituto Nacional de Salud, Jan. 30

Barranquilla has done 6.2 percent of the PCR tests in Colombia or 374,991 PCR tests per million in population, which is more tests per million than in Bogotá.

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

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

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: Epicenter of Coronavirus in Colombia – Bogotá is the Epicenter

The bottom line is that Bogotá is the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia. The city of Bogotá on January 30 had 29.3 percent of total coronavirus cases in Colombia, 39.8 percent of active cases and 23.4 percent of coronavirus deaths, while Bogotá only has about 15 percent of the population of Colombia.

Be careful about articles in the English-language press in Colombia that claim other parts of Colombia are the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia.

By every measure, Bogotá still remains the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia, even though cases in Bogotá have dropped from a peak in mid-January. Also, we expect that Bogotá will remain the epicenter of coronavirus in Colombia for the foreseeable future.

Each day we update our popular article about coronavirus in Colombia, where you can see the daily cases reported for Bogotá and other cities in Colombia.

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 September 13, 2020 with coronavirus data from September 12.

Editors note: updated on October 30, 2020 with coronavirus data from October 29.

Editors note: updated on November 9, 2020 with coronavirus data from November 8.

Editors note: updated on January 31, 2021 with coronavirus data from January 30.

Editors note: update on January 31, 2021 to add PCR tests per city.

Liked it? Take a second to support Medellin Guru on Patreon! The future of Medellin Guru needs the help of readers to remain ad free.