Some Brazilian cities have ignored social isolation

Some Brazilian cities have never closed shop
Caxias do Sul. Photo: Antonio Carlos Lorenzett/PMCS

While many Brazilian cities are beginning to reopen their economies after Covid-19 isolation measures, some municipalities hadn’t stopped work in the first place. The southern city of Caxias do Sul was among the first to record a confirmed Covid-19 case on March 12. With only 48 cases and no deaths so far, the municipality decided against closing non-essential local businesses. Yesterday, however, the latest figures showed that the occupancy rate in the city’s public intensive care units has reached 97 percent. Oddly enough, none of these intensive care patients are confirmed Covid-19 patients, suggesting there is massive underreporting at play.

Yesterday, we talked about how the coronavirus is spreading beyond Brazil’s major urban centers. This is logical, as 120 million Brazilians live in less than 6 percent of the country’s cities. However, as 1,900 municipalities have recorded at least one Covid-19 case, we take a look at how the coronavirus is affecting Brazil’s cities, according to their size.

The chart above illustrates a reflection of Brazil’s economic dynamics. As an example, tens of millions of people live in Greater São Paulo and work in the city, others live in the state capital and commute to the nearby cities of Campinas or Santos. The bigger the population, the more people interact — and the higher the contagion rate.

That being said, small towns in Brazil are by no means immune to the disease. Every day, 50 to 80 new municipalities are added to the list of cities with confirmed cases.