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Author Notes:


Miguel Valencia, Data curation, Project administration, Validation, Writing – review & editing, José E. Becerra, Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Methodology, Software, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing, Juan C. Reyes, Investigation, Methodology, Writing – review & editing, and Kenneth G. Castro, Conceptualization, Writing – review & editing


Research Funding:

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.


  • Science & Technology
  • Multidisciplinary Sciences
  • Science & Technology - Other Topics

Assessment of early mitigation measures against COVID-19 in Puerto Rico: March 15-May 15, 2020


Journal Title:



Volume 15, Number 10


, Pages e0240013-e0240013

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


On March 15, 2020 Puerto Rico implemented non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including a mandatory curfew, as part of a state of emergency declaration to prevent the community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The strict enforcement of this curfew was extended through May 25, with a gradual relaxation beginning on May 1. This report summarizes an assessment of these early mitigation measures on the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the island. From March 15 to May 15, 2020, 70,656 results of molecular (RT-PCR) tests were reported to the Puerto Rico Department of Health. Of these, 1,704 were positive, corresponding to 1,311 individuals with COVID-19 included in the study. We derived the epidemic growth rates (r) and the corresponding reproductive numbers (R) from the epidemic curve of these 1,311 individuals with laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 using their date of test collection as a proxy for symptoms onset. Through May 31, 2020, there were 143 COVID-19 associated deaths in Puerto Rico, for a case fatality risk of 10.9%. We compared the observed cases and deaths with Gompertz model projections had the mitigation measures not been implemented. The number of daily RT-PCR-confirmed cases peaked on March 30 (85 cases), showing a weekly cyclical trend, with lower counts on weekends and a decreasing secular trend since March 30. The initial exponential growth rate (r) was 15.87% (95% CI: 7.59%, 24.15%), corresponding to R of 1.82 (95% CI:1.37, 2.30). After March 30, the r value reverted to an exponential decay rate (negative) of -2.95% (95% CI: -4.99%, -0.92%), corresponding to R of 0.93 (95% CI: 0.86, 0.98). We estimate that, had the initial growth rate been maintained, a total of 6,155 additional COVID-19 cases would have occurred by May 15, with 211 additional COVID-19 deaths by May 31. These findings are consistent with very effective implementation of early NPIs as mitigation measures in Puerto Rico. These results also provide a baseline to assess the impact of the transition from mitigation to subsequent containment stages in Puerto Rico.

Copyright information:

© 2020 Valencia et al

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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