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Publication date: 
June 24, 2020

However, imposing and enforcing strict social distancing and mask mandates could reduce total by 18,930

‘Nation is at a grim tipping point’

SEATTLE (June 24, 2020) – In its first projections comparing different actions to control COVID-19 transmission, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington is forecasting 166,362 people in Brazil will die through October 1. The forecast assumes Brazilian state and federal officials will impose or sustain social distancing when deaths per day in each state reach 8 per million people.  

IHME now compares these estimates to two alternative scenarios: Were Brazil to continue easing social distancing, the COVID-19 death toll could climb to 340,476 people, suggesting that more than 174,100 lives could hang in the balance.

“Brazil is at a grim tipping point,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “Unless and until the government takes sustained and enforced measures to slow transmission, the nation will continue its tragic upward trajectory of infections and deaths. Moreover, being in the Southern Hemisphere, we expect seasonality to exacerbate the situation, particularly in southern states.”

The forecast for Brazil and other Latin American nations models the deaths from the virus if countries impose social distancing mandates for six weeks at the point when deaths reach 8 per million people, comparing that to a scenario if no action is taken.

If mask use is increased to 95%, for example through enforced mandates, the death toll could be reduced to 147,431 deaths.  

 The forecasts by state with (“Reference”) and without (“Worst case”) re-imposed social distancing are:  

  • Acre: Reference 813 (range of 515 to 1,226) / Worst case 1,234 (range of 678 to 1,852)
  • Alagoas: 2,992 (range of 1,927 to 4,779) / 3,386 (range of 2,053 to 5,773)
  • Amapá: 910 (range of 594 to 1,339) / 1,060 (range of 631 to 1,601)
  • Amazonas: 4,274 (range of 3,425 to 5,333) / 4,274 (range of 3,425 to 5,333)
  • Bahia: 9,762 (range of 4,276 to 20,144) / 20,204 (range of 6,476 to 44,045)
  • Ceará: 7,896 (range of 6,459 to 10,292) / 9,681 (range of 6,652 to 15,105)
  • Distrito Federal: 1,997 (range of 1,369 to 3,002) / 4,636 (range of 2,946 to 6,747)
  • Espírito Santo: 3,890 (range of 2,960 to 5,044) / 6,436 (range of 4,490 to 8,724)
  • Goiás: 4,319 (range of 1,245 to 11,072) / 14,198 (range of 3,821 to 24,696)
  • Maranhão: 4,001 (range of 2,771 to 6,614) / 4,001 (range of 2,771 to 6,614)
  • Mato Grosso: 3,418 (range of 1,801 to 5,552) / 7,135 (range of 3,978 to 9,968)
  • Mato Grosso do Sul: 1,709 (range of 185 to 6,023) / 5,140 (range of 369 to 11,440)
  • Minas Gerais: 14,952 (range of 4,847 to 34,635) / 48,141 (range of 13,274 to 94,169)
  • Pará: 6,550 (range of 5,572 to 8,024) / 6,550 (range of 5,572 to 8,024)
  • Paraíba: 3,175 (range of 1,621 to 5,630) / 5,974 (range of 2,185 to 12,156)
  • Paraná: 7,810 (range of 2,273 to 19,310) / 21,180 (range of 5,088 to 42,398)
  • Pernambuco: 10,333 (range of 7,514 to 15,486) / 12,186 (range of 8,215 to 19,741)
  • Piaui: 2,431 (range of 1,599 to 3,578) / 7,535 (range of 4,018 to 11,858)
  • Rio de Janeiro: 19,141 (range of 13,893 to 29,258) / 44,221 (range of 24,907 to 70,160)
  • Rio Grande do Norte: 3,245 (range of 1,045 to 9,063) / 5,674 (range of 1,200 to 13,394)
  • Rio Grande do Sul: 6,595 (range of 1,829 to 19,746) / 11,505 (range of 2,525 to 34,684)
  • Rondônia: 1,337 (range of 760 to 2,289) / 1,337 (range of 760 to 2,289)
  • Roraima: 497 (range of 341 to 770) / 866 (range of 435 to 1,243)
  • Santa Catarina: 3,424 (range of 672 to 11,909) / 3,824 (range of 706 to 13,607)
  • São Paulo: 36,914 (range of 23,948 to 56,506) / 81,830 (range of 40,829 to 135,270)
  • Sergipe: 3,000 (range of 1,789 to 4,863) / 6,247 (range of 4,126 to 8,100)
  • Tocantins: 976 (range of 432 to 1,972) / 2,022 (range of 631 to 4,040)

The new projections reflect the growth of the epidemic throughout the Latin America. In Mexico, 88,160 deaths (range of 67,967 to 120,023) are expected through October 1 if social distancing mandates are employed. In Colombia, the total is 35,314 deaths (range of 14,640 to 81,942), and Peru is forecast to see 36,210 deaths (range of 28,145 to 48,617).

Some nations are seeing growing epidemics despite control measures, which could indicate that social distancing mandates are not being followed or that seasonality associated with winter in the Southern Hemisphere is powerful enough to keep transmission high.

The new death projections and other information are available at https://covid19.healthdata.org.

Contact: [email protected]

A note of thanks

We wish to warmly acknowledge the support of these and others who have made our COVID-19 estimation efforts possible: ACAPS; American Hospital Association; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Boston Children’s/Health Map; California Health Care Foundation; Carnegie Mellon University; Christopher Adolph and colleagues at the Department of Political Science, University of Washington; Descartes Labs; Facebook Data for Good; Google Labs; John Stanton & Theresa Gillespie; Julie & Erik Nordstrom; Kaiser Family Foundation; Medtronic Foundation; Microsoft AI for Health; National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Science Foundation; Our World in Data; Premise; Qumulo; Real Time Medical Systems; Redapt; SafeGraph; The COVID Tracking Project; The Johns Hopkins University; The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS); The New York Times; UNESCO; University of Maryland; University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (Felicia Knaul and Michael Touchton); Wellcome Trust; World Health Organization; and finally, the many Ministries of Health and Public Health Departments across the world, collaborators and partners for their tireless data collection efforts. Thank you. 

About the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation 

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research organization at the University of Washington School of Medicine that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them. IHME is committed to transparency and makes this information widely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions on allocating resources to improve population health.