Coronavirus Hastens Among the Impoverished, Putting Them at Risk with Market Reopening

Participatory surveillance shows more poor people being infected by coronavirus over time

São Paulo

Everyone agrees that Brazil must flatten the contamination curve by the novel coronavirus to avoid a rush to the hospitals and, consequently, a collapse of the health system. But which curve are people talking about?

Brazilian researchers suggest that there are two curves: that of the richest, already somewhat more controlled, and that of the poorest, which is on the rise. This means that isolation measures have less support in the elite and that there is greater pressure to loosen restrictions, putting the poorest at risk.

Participatory surveillance shows more poor people being infected by coronavirus over time (Foto: Eduardo Anizelli/ Folhapress, EQUILÍBRIO) - Folhapress

Researchers Guilherme Lichand (professor at the University of Zurich), Onício Leal-Neto (postdoctoral fellow in Zurich), and Guilherme Prokisch (mathematician at USP) revealed this in an article analyzing data from a platform that tries to capture the advance of the virus according to symptoms reported by the population.

The data collected by the researchers show that people from social classes A and B (with household income above R $ 8,159) report having fewer and fewer symptoms. Class D and E (income below R $ 1,892) report more symptoms over the weeks.

When looking at the data of where these people with the most symptoms of the disease are, the application shows a higher concentration of symptomatic cases in the most vulnerable regions of the city.

"It is natural to expect that, in light of this, the pressure from the upper classes to reopen the economy will grow. Then there will be potentially high costs for those who are still exposed to the growing number of cases, but don't have the conditions to access health equipment with sufficient capacity to meet high demand," concluded the researchers' report.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language