PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2021; 15(1): e0008958 -

Epidemiological, socio-demographic and clinical features of the early phase of the COVID-19 epidemic in Ecuador.

Ortiz-Prado E, Simbaña-Rivera K, Barreno LG, Diaz AM, Barreto A, Moyano C, Arcos V, Vásconez-González E, Paz C, Simbaña-Guaycha F, Molestina-Luzuriaga M, Fernández-Naranjo R, Feijoo J, Henriquez AR, Adana L, Cortés AL, Fletcher I, Lowe R
The SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread rapidly around the globe. Nevertheless, there is limited information describing the characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 patients in Latin America. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 9,468 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Ecuador. We calculated overall incidence, mortality, case fatality rates, disability adjusted life years, attack and crude mortality rates, as well as relative risk and relative odds of death, adjusted for age, sex and presence of comorbidities. A total of 9,468 positive COVID-19 cases and 474 deaths were included in the analysis. Men accounted for 55.4% (n = 5, 247) of cases and women for 44.6% (n = 4, 221). We found the presence of comorbidities, being male and older than 65 years were important determinants of mortality. Coastal regions were most affected by COVID-19, with higher mortality rates than the highlands. Fatigue was reported in 53.2% of the patients, followed by headache (43%), dry cough (41.7%), ageusia (37.1%) and anosmia (36.1%). We present an analysis of the burden of COVID-19 in Ecuador. Our findings show that men are at higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than women, and risk increases with age and the presence of comorbidities. We also found that blue-collar workers and the unemployed are at greater risk of dying. These early observations offer clinical insights for the medical community to help improve patient care and for public health officials to strengthen Ecuador's response to the outbreak.