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Six months on: Brazil’s coronavirus situation, in charts

. Aug 27, 2020
Six months on: Brazil's coronavirus situation, in charts Photo: Jorge Hely Veiga/Shutterstock

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.

</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-map" data-src="visualisation/3586669"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <h2>How coronavirus infections and deaths are progressing in each state</h2> <p>Brazil&#8217;s national curve for coronavirus cases appears to be stable, but a closer look at state-specific data shows that the 7-day rolling average of new daily cases is going down in places such as Sergipe and Roraima,&nbsp;while it is rising in Mato Grosso do Sul and Tocantins. Paraphrasing Tolstoy, every state ravaged by the pandemic is ravaged by the pandemic in a different way.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Brazil&#8217;s three most-populated states have yet to show any significant drop to their respective infection curves. In São Paulo, new cases are below the level of recent weeks, but still high when compared to June. In Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, infections are still on the rise.</p> <p>The difference in death curves, meanwhile, is easier to spot. The states of Amazonas, Pará, and Ceará were plunged into Covid-19 chaos early on, but now they have been able to flatten the curve. On the other hand, Goiás, Tocantins, and Mato Grosso are seeing their deaths spike.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3586402"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3586404"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <h2>Social isolation, we hardly knew ye</h2> <p>Though contagion and death are still on the rise in some parts of Brazil, life is largely returning to normal nationwide. The country&#8217;s half-hearted attempt at social isolation was a non-starter, and Google&#8217;s circulation index shows that the number of Brazilians commuting to their workplace is now just 12 percent below the country&#8217;s pre-pandemic normal.&nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, in northern states Roraima and Rondonia — states which saw infection peaks in June and July — circulation is actually <em>above</em> baseline levels, meaning more people are now commuting to work than they were before Covid-19.</p> <p>Capital city Brasília has seen the country&#8217;s highest social isolation rates — with several public institutions (the backbone of the capital&#8217;s economy) still working remotely. Infections in the capital are going down at a <a href="https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/cidades-df/2020/08/4871262-covid-19--apos-mais-de-cinco-meses--em-que-estagio-esta-o-df.html">painfully slow pace</a>, while new deaths are still rising.</p> <div class="flourish-embed flourish-chart" data-src="visualisation/3587107"><script src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/embed.js"></script></div> <p>

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José Roberto Castro

José Roberto covers politics and economics and is finishing a Master's Degree in Media and Globalization. Previously, he worked at Nexo Jornal and O Estado de S. Paulo.

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