Assessing the potential impact of COVID-19 in Brazil: Mobility, Morbidity and the burden on the Health Care System


Background: Brazil detected community transmission of COVID-19 on March 13, 2020. In this study we identify which areas in the country are most vulnerable for COVID-19, both in terms of the risk of arrival of COVID-19 cases and the risk of sustained transmission. The micro-regions with higher social vulnerability are also identified. Methods: Probabilistic models were used to calculate the probability of COVID-19 spread from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, according to previous data available on human mobility in Brazil. We also perform a multivariate cluster analysis of socio-economic indices to identify areas with similar social vulnerability. Results: The results consist of a series of maps of effective distance, outbreak probability, hospital capacity and social vulnerability. They show areas in the North and Northeast with high risk of COVID-19 outbreak that are also highly vulnerable. Interpretation: The maps produced are useful for authorities in their efforts to prioritize actions such as resource allocation to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and may help other countries to use a similar approach to predict the virus route in their countries as well.

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