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Racial disparity in excess mortality in Brazil during COVID-19 times

This study evaluated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on excess mortality by race/skin color in Brazil, between epidemiological weeks 12 and 50 of 2020. Since the first reported COVID-19 death in Brazil until December 12, 2020, there was an excess mortality from natural causes of over 180,000 deaths. Excess mortality among black/brown populations was remarkably higher compared to the white population, being as high as 26.3%, and accounting for 58.9% of excess deaths. These data point to racial inequalities as results of the pandemic’s direct and indirect impacts on mortality, and they indicate the need for public policies to promote equity.

A related investigation, “Excess Mortality in Brazil: Detailed Description of Trends in Mortality During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” shows how comparing the excess mortality over a 12-week period in 2020 to the expected mortality for that period can convey a sense of the trajectory and magnitude of the pandemic.