Time-varying Reproduction Numbers of COVID-19 in Georgia, USA, March 2, 2020 to November 20, 2020

Perm J. 2021 May;25. doi: 10.7812/TPP/20.232.


Background: In 2020, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 impacted Georgia, USA. Georgia announced a state-wide shelter-in-place on April 2 and partially lifted restrictions on April 27. We estimated the time-varying reproduction numbers (Rt) of COVID-19 in Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and Dougherty County and environs from March 2, 2020, to November 20, 2020.

Methods: We analyzed the daily incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and Dougherty County and its surrounding counties, and estimated Rt using the R package EpiEstim. We used a 9-day correction for the date of report to analyze the data by assumed date of infection.

Results: The median Rt estimate in Georgia dropped from between 2 and 4 in mid-March to < 2 in late March to around 1 from mid-April to November. Regarding Metro Atlanta, Rt fluctuated above 1.5 in March and around 1 since April. In Dougherty County, the median Rt declined from around 2 in late March to 0.32 on April 26. Then, Rt fluctuated around 1 in May through November. Counties surrounding Dougherty County registered an increase in Rt estimates days after a superspreading event occurred in the area.

Conclusions: In Spring 2020, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 transmission in Georgia declined likely because of social distancing measures. However, because restrictions were relaxed in late April and elections were conducted in November, community transmission continued, with Rt fluctuating around 1 across Georgia, Metro Atlanta, and Dougherty County as of November 2020. The superspreading event in Dougherty County affected surrounding areas, indicating the possibility of local transmission in neighboring counties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time