On the role of financial support programs in mitigating the SARS-CoV-2 spread in Brazil

Vinicius V.L. Albani, Roseane A.S. Albani, Nara Bobko, Eduardo Massad, Jorge P. Zubelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: During 2020, there were no effective treatments or vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. The most common disease contention measures were social distance (social isolation), the use of face masks and lockdowns. In the beginning, numerous countries have succeeded to control and reduce COVID-19 infections at a high economic cost. Thus, to alleviate such side effects, many countries have implemented socioeconomic programs to fund individuals that lost their jobs and to help endangered businesses to survive. Methods: We assess the role of a socioeconomic program, so-called “Auxilio Emergencial” (AE), during 2020 as a measure to mitigate the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in Brazil. For each Brazilian State, we estimate the time-dependent reproduction number from daily reports of COVID-19 infections and deaths using a Susceptible-Exposed-Infected-Recovered-like (SEIR-like) model. Then, we analyse the correlations between the reproduction number, the amount of individuals receiving governmental aid, and the index of social isolation based on mobile phone information. Results: We observed significant positive correlation values between the average values by the AE and median values of an index accounting for individual mobility. We also observed significantly negative correlation values between the reproduction number and this index on individual mobility. Using the simulations of a susceptible-exposed-infected-removed-like model, if the AE was not operational during the first wave of COVID-19 infections, the accumulated number of infections and deaths could be 6.5 (90% CI: 1.3–21) and 7.9 (90% CI: 1.5–23) times higher, respectively, in comparison with the actual implementation of AE. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the AE implemented in Brazil had a significant influence on social isolation by allowing those in need to stay at home, which would reduce the expected numbers of infections and deaths.

Original languageBritish English
Article number1781
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemiological Modeling
  • Mobility and Transmission
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Socioeconomic Programs and Transmission


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