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University of Miami Latin America COVID-19 Observatory to launch Brazil and comparative regional data analysis

The platform was developed by the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas, Miller School of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Communication, in collaboration with research partners throughout Latin America.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 1, 2020)—Latin America is now the world’s hotspot for COVID-19 infections and deaths, accounting for more than 40 percent of daily registered deaths. The University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas will launch its second in-depth analysis of the Latin America COVID-19 Observatory, with a state and federal level focus on Brazil—the epicenter of the region with nearly 60 percent of the COVID-19 deaths registered per day.

As coronavirus deaths in Brazil continue to climb, researchers and university leadership will discuss the current COVID-19 containment situation in the country and the region and their findings on the impact of delayed and poorly planned responses and policies during a press conference on Tuesday, June 2, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. EDT. Combined with previously released state-level data on Mexico and national-level for the rest of Latin America, these findings provide an important instrument to inform public policy and decision-making in the region.

Those interested in attending the presentation can watch beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT using the following Zoom link:

Participants include University of Miami President Julio Frenk, former minister of health of Mexico; Felicia Marie Knaul, director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas and professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine; Michael Touchton, assistant professor of political science at the University of Miami and the global health associate faculty lead for the Institute; and Professor Cesar Victora, a world-renowned Brazilian epidemiologist and lead of the International Center for Equity in Health at Universidade Federal de Pelotas.

Knaul leads the team of researchers and policy experts from leading research institutions across the Americas in developing the initiative, which first provided an analysis of Mexico in late April and is now progressing to a regional platform. Touchton, an expert in comparative politics in Latin America, conducted the Brazil data analysis. Additionally, the website for the University of Miami’s Latin America COVID-19 Observatory platform has been updated to include new interactive infographics which provide visually enhanced analyses of the data.

From February 26 to May 27, 2020, key findings for Brazil include:

  • The Bolsonaro government is doing very little to combat the pandemic and actively opposes distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. By doing so, the federal government is delegating the burden of response and containment to state and local governments.
  • State and local governments acted late, waiting an average of more than three weeks after the first case of COVID-19 was identified to implement distancing measures.
  • These measures did reduce mobility, but less so than for all other Latin American countries, except Nicaragua.

Compared to most countries in the region, Brazil and Mexico were delayed in implementing public health and physical distancing policy. In terms of population mobility, Mexico and Brazil are the worst performers and the least able to contain movement compared to pre-pandemic levels. The only country in the region that has done worse is Nicaragua, where there is almost no physical distancing policy in place. Brazil and Mexico also underperform in public health and physical distancing policy compared to all other countries with available data from the region, other than Nicaragua.

The University of Miami´s Latin America COVID-19 Observatory platform presents systematic and regularly updated, state-level and national data on the public health policies that governments in Mexico and Brazil have adopted to encourage physical distancing, reduce population mobility, and inform and educate. The platform also presents data from Google on the registered movement of each population group compared to pre-pandemic patterns. The Observatory is continuing its examination of other countries in the hemisphere and will soon incorporate data from Peru and Colombia.

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