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COVID-19 pandemic: environmental and social factors influencing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in São Paulo, Brazil

Nakada et al., Environmental Science and Pollution Research, doi:10.1007/s11356-020-10930-w
Sep 2020  
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Analysis of COVID-19 in Brazil, showing a negative correlation between cases and UV radiation.
Nakada et al., 28 Sep 2020, Brazil, peer-reviewed, 2 authors, study period 24 March, 2020 - 6 July, 2020. Contact: lnakada@unicamp.br, rodrigo.urban@puc-campinas.edu.br.
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COVID-19 pandemic: environmental and social factors influencing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in São Paulo, Brazil
Liane Yuri Kondo Nakada, Rodrigo Custodio Urban
Environmental Science and Pollution Research, doi:10.1007/s11356-020-10930-w
The new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has infected more than 14 million people worldwide so far. Brazil is currently the second leading country in number of cases of COVID-19, while São Paulo state accounts for 20% of total confirmed cases in Brazil. The aim of this study was to assess environmental and social factors influencing the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the expanded metropolitan area of São Paulo, Brazil. Firstly, a spatial analysis was conducted to provide insights into the spread of COVID-19 within the expanded metropolitan area. Moreover, Spearman correlation test and sensitivity analysis were performed to assess social indicators and environmental conditions which possibly influence the incidence of COVID-19. Our results reveal that the spread of COVID-19 from the capital city São Paulo-its epicenter in Brazil-is directly associated with the availability of highways within the expanded metropolitan area of São Paulo. As for social aspects, COVID-19 infection rate was found to be both positively correlated with population density, and negatively correlated with social isolation rate, hence indicating that social distancing has been effective in reducing the COVID-19 transmission. Finally, COVID-19 infection rate was found to be inversely correlated with both temperature and UV radiation. Together with recent literature our study suggests that the UV radiation provided by sunlight might contribute to depletion of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity.
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