Flaws in Brazil's Database of Death Records Hamper Analysis of Coronavirus Effect

Platform is unevenly updated in different cities across the country

São Paulo

Brazil’s database that shows the number of recorded deaths in the country lacks information, preventing the analysis of the progress of the Covid-19 disease, especially in capitals and large cities. The database is used by researchers and the press to measure the impact of Covid-19.

One main problem is the presence of outdated not only from the last few weeks but even from previous years, which prejudices the comparison with 2020.

The Civil Registry Transparency Portal, maintained by the Association of Registry offices, shows the total number of recorded deaths in the country. In theory, it is a basis with which to estimate the “surplus of deaths” caused by the new coronavirus.

Country has 188,974 confirmed cases of Covid-19 (Foto: Zanone Fraissat/Folhapress, COTIDIANO)

In this calculation, the number of deaths in previous years is compared to 2020. What goes beyond the standard is probably due to the virus, the new element in the equation. That is, the impact of the disease could be estimated, even with the lack of tests in Brazil.

Folha analyzed the number of deaths in the 518 cities in the database, with data collected until May 11. There was such a large variation in deaths in the months of 2020 compared to the same periods in 2019, hampering analysis of the impact of Covid-19.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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