In mid-August, Brazil got a rare uplifting piece of news: Imperial College London reported that the country’s coronavirus contagion rate had dropped below 1 for the first time since the virus began spreading in the country. In practical terms, Brazil’s R number of 0.98 meant that every 100 infected individuals would be expected to infect 98 others, who would then in turn infect 96, and so on. At the time, however, The Brazilian Report warned that this was not yet reason for celebration, as these figures would have to be sustained for several weeks in order to truly declare the deceleration of Brazil’s epidemic — a sage piece of advice after the contagion rate rose back to 1 a week later.
Still, there are limitations to Imperial College London’s findings. The first is that the contagion rate calculations are based on official data — which has been unreliable due to a lack of testing and the inconsistency of data treatment between states. Moreover, the rate is a nationwide number — but the pandemic has progressed unevenly in a country that is as large and unequal as Brazil. Climate, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions play a big role in how the pandemic has evolved in different regions.
The result is a heterogeneous scenario described by The Brazilian Report in the following curves using figures from data portal Brasil.io and Google.