City size and the spreading of COVID-19 in Brazil

Ribeiro, H.V., Sunahara, A.S., Sutton, J., Perc, M. and Hanley, Q.S. ORCID: 0000-0002-8189-9550, 2020. City size and the spreading of COVID-19 in Brazil. PLoS ONE, 15 (9): e0239699. ISSN 1932-6203

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The current outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an unprecedented example of how fast an infectious disease can spread around the globe (especially in urban areas) and the enormous impact it causes on public health and socio-economic activities. Despite the recent surge of investigations about different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we still know little about the effects of city size on the propagation of this disease in urban areas. Here we investigate how the number of cases and deaths by COVID-19 scale with the population of Brazilian cities. Our results indicate that large cities are proportionally more affected by COVID-19, such that every 1% rise in population is associated with 0.57% increase in the number of cases per capita and 0.25% in the number of deaths per capita. The difference between the scaling of cases and deaths indicates the case fatality rate decreases with city size. The latest estimates show that a 1% increase in population associates with a 0.14% reduction in the case fatality rate of COVID-19; however, this urban advantage has decreased over time. We interpret this to be due to the existence of proportionally more health infrastructure in the largest cities and a lower proportion of older adults in large urban areas. We also find the initial growth rate of cases and deaths to be higher in large cities; however, these growth rates tend to decrease in large cities and to increase in small ones during the long-term course of the pandemic.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Creators: Ribeiro, H.V., Sunahara, A.S., Sutton, J., Perc, M. and Hanley, Q.S.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date: 23 September 2020
Volume: 15
Number: 9
ISSN: 1932-6203
Rights: © 2020 Ribeiro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 28 Sep 2020 09:21
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:16

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