PREPRINT: Underreporting of death by COVID-19 in Brazil’s second most populous state

The COVID-19 pandemic brings to light the reality of the Brazilian health system. The underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in the state of Minas Gerais (MG), where is concentrated the second largest population of the country, reveals government unpreparedness, as there is a low capacity of testing in the population, which prevents the real understanding of the general panorama of Sars-Cov-2 dissemination. The goals of this research are to analyze the causes of deaths in the different Brazilian government databases (ARPEN and SINAN) and to assess whether there are sub-records shown by the unexpected increase in the frequency of deaths from causes clinically similar to COVID-19. A descriptive and quantitative analysis of the number of COVID-19 deaths and similar causes was made in different databases. Ours results demonstrate that the different official sources had a discrepancy of 209.23% between these data referring to the same period. There was also a 648.61% increase in SARS deaths in 2020, when compared to the average of previous years. Finally, it was shown that there was an increase in the rate of pneumonia and respiratory insufficiency (RI) by 5.36% and 5.72%, respectively. In conclusion, there is an underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in MG due to the unexplained excess of SARS deaths, Respiratory insufficiency and pneumonia compared to previous years.

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