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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

The Ugandan Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome -Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Model: A Data Driven Approach to Estimate Risk

Objectives The first case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified on March 21, 2020, in Uganda. The number of cases increased to 8,287 by September 30, 2020. By May throughout June, most of the cases were predominantly imported cases of truck drivers from neighbouring countries. Uganda responded with various restrictions and interventions including lockdown, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and use of face masks in public, to control the growth rate of the outbreak. By end of September 2020, Uganda had transitioned into community transmissions and most of the reported cases were locals contacts and alerts. This study assessed risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 in Uganda, and presents estimates of the reproduction ratio in real time. An optimal control analysis was performed to determine how long the current mitigation measures such as controlling the exposure in communities, rapid detection, confirmation and contact tracing, partial lockdown of the vulnerable groups and control at the porous boarders, could be implemented and at what cost.Methods The daily confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Uganda were extracted from publicly available sources. Using the data, relative risks for age, gender, and geographical location were determined. Four approaches were used to forecast SARS-CoV-2 in Uganda namely linear exponential, nonlinear exponential, logistic and a deterministic model. The discrete logistic model and the next generation matrix method were used to estimate the effective reproduction number.Results Results showed that women were at a higher risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 than the men, and the population attributable risk of SARS-CoV-2 to women was 42.22\%. Most of the women affected by SARS-CoV-2 were likely contacts of cargo truck drivers at the boarders, where high infection rates were reported. Although most deaths in Uganda were in the age group of 60-69, the highest case fatality rate per 1000 was attributable the age group of 80-89, followed by 70-79. Geographically, Amuru had the highest relative risk compared to the national risk to SARS-CoV-2. For the case of mitigation scenarios, washing hands with 70\% com pliance and regular hand washing of 6 times a day, was the most effective and sustainable to reduce SARS- CoV-2 exposure. This was followed by public wearing of face masks if at least 60\% of the population complied, and physical distancing by 60\% of the population. If schools, bars and churches were opened without compliance, i.e., no distancing, no handwashing and no public wearing of face masks, to mitigation measures, the highest incidence was observed, leading to a big replacement number. If mitigation measures are not followed by the population, then there will be high incidences and prevalence of the virus in the population.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.Clinical TrialThe data used in the study was from daily cases not clinical trialsFunding StatementNo fundingAuthor DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.YesThe details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:Ministry of Health UgandaAll necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived.YesI understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).YesI have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.YesThe data used in the study is readily available on the Ministry of Health website at, and
Year of Publication
Date Published
02 January 2021
Type of Article