To analyze the incidence and mortality trends from COVID-19 in Brazil as well as in federation units and their capitals.
An ecological study was performed using COVID-19 incidence and mortality data covering the period from 25 February 2020 (first case recorded in Brazil) to 31 July 2021. Data were grouped by month for calculation of crude rates (by 100 000 population) and assessment of time trends in federation units and capitals. Significant changes in time trends were analyzed by joinpoint regression.
Two waves of new cases and deaths were identified. The highest incidence rates were recorded in the states of Amapá, Rio Grande do Norte, Rondônia, and Roraima. The states of Amazonas and Rondônia had the highest mortality rates. In general, incidence and mortality rates were worse in the second wave. In the first wave, the mean number of months until the onset of reduction in new cases was higher in capitals, whereas in the second wave the onset of reduction in new cases took longer in the federation units. The decline in mortality began earlier in capital cities in both waves.
The regional differences detected underscore the notion that COVID-19 incidence and mortality are associated with political, geographic, cultural, social, and economic factors.