Researchers from the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), who are conducting a nationwide study on the real level of incidence of Covid-19 in Brazil, have been attacked in different Brazilian cities, newspaper Zero Hora reported. According to the publication, many of these attacks were perpetrated by public officials. In Pará and Santa Catarina, the scientists were detained and had their Covid-19 tests apprehended, while in Rio Grande do Norte they were physically attacked on the streets, accused of “breaking quarantine.” Meanwhile, in Mato Grosso, researchers have yet to receive authorization to leave their hotel.
According to UFPel, all state and municipal secretariats have been notified of its researchers’ work. The study is sponsored by the Health Ministry and has been approved by the National Ethics in Research Board.
Conceived as a statewide study on the level of underreporting in the southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, the UFPel research has gained attention in Brazil and abroad, and was expanded to the whole country since May 5. This week, it concluded that underreporting in Rio Grande do Sul could be as high as 92 percent. National-scale results are not yet available.