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Statewide modeling report shows COVID-19 infections slowing amid fifth wave

An estimated 1 in 99 people are currently infectious, the report says.

COLORADO, USA — An estimated one in 99 people in Colorado are infectious with COVID-19, but the rate of infections is slowing, according to a new statewide modeling report that shows Colorado is in its fifth wave of infections. 

The report says the estimated effective reproductive number in Colorado is 1.1, which means infections are increasing, but that number is lower than it's been over the last month. 

The report says 70% of Coloradans are estimated to be immune, either by vaccination or by prior infection.

Under the scenarios modeled in the report, hospitalizations are unlikely to reach the peak seen in December 2020. Hospital demand in the weeks ahead depends on the level of transmission control and vaccination rates, the report says, and an increase in vaccination from recent mandates and federal actions will help. 

“The state data and the modeling indicates we are not quite out of the woods yet,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. “In the short-term, transmission control measures, like masking and social distancing, will continue to reduce peak hospital demand. Longer term, an increase in vaccination rates will continue to be crucial to reducing hospital demand and saving lives.”

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The projections are based on COVID-19 hospital census data through Sept. 13 and vaccination data through Sept. 12.

The group of experts that created the report includes modeling scientists at the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as experts from CU Boulder, CU Denver and Colorado State University, according to a release.