On August 4, 2020, a massive explosion hit Lebanon’s capital city, Beirut. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of the Beirut blast on the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Subject and Methods

Data on COVID-19 were retrieved from the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health (LMOPH), where all the COVID-19 positive cases were reported. The study was divided into two periods, considering the incubation period of the COVID-19 virus: (July 27–August 9, 2020) and (August 10–23, 2020). Information obtained included daily number of cases, tests, deaths, hospitalized patients, intensive care unit (ICU) patients, and mode of acquisition (local vs. expat). Daily positivity rates were reported per 100 tests. An independent sample t-test and a Joinpoint regression analysis were used to determine significance. A p value less than 0.05 was considered significant.


A total of 201,010 tests were conducted during our studied period, with 8993 positive cases, constituting a total positivity rate of 4.5 per 100 tests. Case fatality rate over the studied period was 0.8%. The positivity rate of the period prior to August 10, 2020, was 2.7 per 100 tests, significantly less than that of the period following the explosion, which was 6.4 per 100 tests (p < 0.001). During our studied period, daily positivity rates were significantly increasing at a slope of 0.29 (p < 0.001). A significant increase in slope was noted on August 13, 2020 (p < 0.001). The number of hospitalized patients increased from 139 patients on July 27 to 266 on August 23, 2020, and that of ICU patients increased from 36 to 75.


The port of Beirut explosion resulted in a significant increase in the daily number of positive COVID-19 cases. The aftermath of the explosion, the damage to healthcare facilities, and the overcrowding due to emergency efforts were contributing factors to that increase.


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Cite as

Fares, M., Musharrafieh, U. & Bizri, A. 2021, 'The impact of the Beirut blast on the COVID-19 situation in Lebanon', Journal of Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-021-01562-6

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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