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Emerson Baptista: Spatial pattern of COVID-19 deaths and infections in small areas of Brazil

Paper “Spatial pattern of COVID-19 deaths and infections in small areas of Brazil” co-authored by ADRI’s Emerson Augusto Baptista was recently published in PLoS ONE. The other three authors are from academic institutions in Brazil and Nigeria.


As of mid-August 2020, Brazil was the country with the second-highest number of cases and deaths by the COVID-19 pandemic, but with large regional and social differences. In this study, using data from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, we analyze the spatial patterns of infection and mortality from Covid-19 across small areas of Brazil. We apply spatial autoregressive Bayesian models and estimate the risks of infection and mortality, taking into account age, sex composition of the population and other variables that describe the health situation of the spatial units. We also perform a decomposition analysis to study how age composition impacts the differences in mortality and infection rates across regions. Our results indicate that death and infections are spatially distributed, forming clusters and hotspots, especially in the Northern Amazon, Northeast coast and Southeast of the country. The high mortality risk in the Southeast part of the country, where the major cities are located, can be explained by the high proportion of the elderly in the population. In the less developed areas of the North and Northeast, there are high rates of infection among young adults, people of lower socioeconomic status, and people without access to health care, resulting in more deaths.

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