Risk of the Brazilian health care system over 5572 municipalities to exceed health care capacity due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Academic Article uri icon

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  • The spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has challenged governments to develop public policies to reduce the load of the COVID-19 on health care systems, which is commonly referred to as "flattening the curve". This study aims to address this issue by proposing a spatial multicriteria approach to estimate the risk of the Brazilian health care system, by municipality, to exceed the health care capacity because of an influx of patients infected with the COVID-19. We estimated this risk for 5572 municipalities in Brazil using a combination of a multicriteria decision-making approach with spatial analysis to estimate the exceedance risk, and then, we examined the risk variation by designing 5 control intervention scenarios (3 scenarios representing reduction on social contacts, and 2 scenarios representing investment on health care system). For the baseline scenario using an average infection rate across Brazil, we estimated a mean Hospital Bed Capacity (HBC) value of -16.73, indicating that, on average, the Brazilian municipalities will have a deficit of approximately 17 beds. This deficit is projected to occur in 3338 municipalities with the north and northeast regions being at the greatest risk of exceeding health care capacity due to the COVID-19. The intervention scenarios indicate across all of Brazil that they could address the bed shortage, with an average of available beds between 23 and 32. However, when we consider the shortages at a municipal scale, bed exceedances still occur for at least 2119 municipalities in the most effective intervention scenario. Our findings are essential to identify priority areas, to compare populations, and to provide options for government agencies to act. This study can be used to provide support for the creation of effective health public policies for national, regional, and local intervention.


  • Requia, Weeberb J
  • Kondo, Edson Kenji
  • Adams, Matthew
  • Gold, Diane R
  • Struchiner, Claudio José

publication date

  • August 2020