Demography, social contact patterns, and SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the South West Shewa Zone of Oromia Region, Ethiopia

Filippo Trentini, Bruno Kessler Foundation
Giorgio Guzzetta, Bruno Kessler Foundation
Margherita Galli, Bruno Kessler Foundation
Agnese Zardini, Bruno Kessler Foundation
Fabio Manenti, CUAMM Doctors with Africa
Giovanni Putoto, CUAMM Doctors with Africa
Valentina Marziano, Bruno Kessler Foundation
Worku Nigussa Gamshie, CUAMM Doctors with Africa
Ademe Tsegaye, CUAMM Doctors with Africa
Alessandro Greblo, CUAMM Doctors with Africa
Alessia Melegaro, Bocconi University
Marco Ajelli, Indiana University School of Public Health
Stefano Merler, Fondazione Bruno Kessler
Piero Poletti, Bruno Kessler Foundation, Trento

COVID-19 spread may have a dramatic impact in countries with vulnerable economies and limited availability of, and access to, healthcare resources and infrastructures. However, in sub-Saharan Africa a low prevalence and mortality have been observed so far. We collected data on individuals’ social contacts in Ethiopia across geographical contexts characterized by heterogeneous population density, work and travel opportunities, and access to primary care. We assessed how socio-demographic factors and observed mixing patterns can influence the COVID-19 disease burden, by simulating SARS-CoV-2 transmission in remote settlements, rural villages, and urban neighborhoods, under the current school closure mandate. We found that, at the end of an epidemic mitigated by school closure alone, 10-15% of the overall population would have been symptomatic and 0.3-0.4% of the population would require mechanical ventilation and/or possibly result in a fatal outcome. Higher infection attack rates are expected in more urbanized areas, but the highest incidence of critical disease is expected in remote subsistence farming settlements. The relatively low burden of COVID-19 in Ethiopia can be explained by the estimated mixing patterns, underlying demography and the enacted school closures. Socio-demographic factors can also determine marked heterogeneities across different geographical contexts within the same country.

Keywords: COVID-19, Demographic and social surveys, Health and morbidity

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 149. Estimating COVID-19 Risks and Self-Perceptions