SEATTLE (May 12) – The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington is projecting nearly 90,000 deaths in Brazil related to COVID-19 by early August.
The analysis includes forecasts for eight of Brazil’s 26 states that were the first to have greater than 50 deaths, including São Paulo, with nearly 37,000 deaths projected, to Paraná with just under 250 deaths.
“IHME’s projections for deaths in Brazil clearly indicate the nation’s health care system is facing a daunting challenge,” said IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray. “Our aim in announcing these findings is to inform policymakers how best to manage and mobilize for COVID-19.”
IHME’s current forecasting lasts through August 4 and, as Murray noted, the Institute’s projections will change as new data are acquired and analyzed. Additional states will be added to upcoming forecasts. Fluctuations are to be expected.
The Institute’s analysis concludes there will be 88,305 deaths in Brazil, with a possible range as low as 30,302 and as high as 193,786 through August 4. It includes eight of the nation’s 26 states. By state, the findings are:
Today’s findings follow requests from health leaders for projections of deaths and other COVID-19-related concerns, such as hospital resources needed to help address the pandemic. IHME’s estimates show Brazil experiencing a shortage of more than 3,000 ICU beds, with the gap expected to grow. Some Brazilian states are also experiencing acute shortages. A shortfall of more than 3,000 total hospital beds and over 1,000 ICU beds is estimated in Amazonas as of May 12, and in São Paulo a shortage of more than 1,000 ICU beds.
“It’s important for countries and regions to look closely at hospital capacity, resource needs, and the ongoing trajectory of coronavirus cases,” said Jarbas Barbosa, Assistant Director at the Pan American Health Organization. “The epidemic in Latin America is coming later than in Europe. This is a time to be vigilant, watch the data, and implement the relevant public health measures.”
Murray noted that his organization has worked closely with PAHO officials and others within its collaborator network, now totaling more than 5,000 people in over 150 countries.
The Latin American nations with the highest projected deaths after Brazil are facing smaller tolls, but still suffering resource shortages:
The Institute’s forecasts for all countries and regions are based on a hybrid model. The model IHME released on March 26 to estimate hospital resource demand is now combined with a disease transmission model. The new model captures the impact of changes in social distancing mandates, changes in mobility, and testing and contact tracing. It enables predicting a resurgence if and when more social distancing mandates are relaxed.
“This new model is the basis for the sobering estimate of deaths in Brazil and other nations,” Murray said. “The model allows for regular updating as new data are released on cases, hospitalizations, deaths, testing, and mobility. It can inform decisions about mandating and later easing social distancing policies to minimize the risk of infections. As with all our forecasts, these will be routinely updated and new data added as available.”
The new death projections are available at https://covid19.healthdata.org/projections.
IHME is grateful to the Microsoft AI for Health program for supporting our hosting of COVID-19 data visualizations in the Azure cloud.