bool(false)

Boasting highest death rate in Brazil, Rio moves to hide Covid-19 data

. May 27, 2020
Rio municipal government decided to only report Covid-19 mortality based on the cause recorded on official death certificates, and no longer on hospital reports. Funeral of a Covid-19 victim. Photo: Photocarioca/Shutterstock

Data collected by Ibope and the Federal University of Pelotas — and compiled by news website Poder360 — shows that Rio de Janeiro’s mortality rate from Covid-19 is the highest in the country at 1.92 percent, while 2.2 percent of the population has antibodies against the coronavirus. This figure is even more surprising considering that in Manaus, where the public healthcare system has collapsed, 12.5 percent of the population had antibodies for Covid-19, but the death rate sits at 0.43 percent.

Amid this bleak scenario, Rio de Janeiro’s municipal government decided to only report Covid-19 mortality based on the cause recorded on official death certificates, and no longer on hospital reports. The problem is that, in many cases, patients die before being diagnosed with Covid-19. In these cases, doctors will usually report the cause of death as “acute respiratory distress syndrome.” Altering this posthumously is a costly process that depends solely on families. 

The difference between the two methods wiped 1,177 deaths off the official tally, in comparison to the 2,978 reported in the city by the state government as of May 26, according to newspaper O Globo. 

The argument for the change is that deaths would be accounted for on the day they occurred. However, this may cause extra problems in Covid-19 monitoring, as deaths would no longer be able to be mapped by neighborhood, a practice that helps target infection hotspots.

Support this coverage →Support this coverage →
 
Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Before joining The Brazilian Report, she worked as an editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

Our content is protected by copyright. Want to republish The Brazilian Report? Email us at contact@brazilian.report