Estimating the Impact of Statewide Policies to Reduce Spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Real Time, Colorado, USA


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic necessitated rapid local public health response, but studies examining the impact of social distancing policies on SARS-CoV-2 transmission have struggled to capture regional-level dynamics. We developed a susceptible-exposed-infected-recovered transmission model, parameterized to Colorado, USA‒specific data, to estimate the impact of coronavirus disease‒related policy measures on mobility and SARS-CoV-2 transmission in real time. During March‒June 2020, we estimated unknown parameter values and generated scenario-based projections of future clinical care needs. Early coronavirus disease policy measures, including a stay-at-home order, were accompanied by substantial decreases in mobility and reduction of the effective reproductive number well below 1. When some restrictions were eased in late April, mobility increased to near baseline levels, but transmission remained low (effective reproductive number <1) through early June. Over time, our model was parameterized closer to reality in Colorado, leading to modest changes in estimates of intervention effects and more conservative long-term projections.

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