Socio-economic inequalities and COVID-19 incidence and mortality in Brazilian children: a nationwide register-based study

Public Health. 2021 Jan;190:4-6. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2020.11.005. Epub 2020 Dec 11.


Objectives: This study aimed to estimate the incidence and mortality rates of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Brazilian children and to analyze its relationship with socio-economic inequalities in a state-level analysis.

Study design: This is a nationwide register-based study.

Methods: To estimate the incidence and mortality rates of COVID-19 in Brazilian children aged 0-19 years, we extracted data of confirmed cases and deaths from the de-identified microdata catalog and official bulletins of the 27 Brazilian states' health department websites until September 3, 2020. Social and economic inequalities were evaluated using the Social Vulnerability Index and Gini coefficient, respectively. The relationship between COVID-19 rates in Brazilian children and socio-economic vulnerability at the state level was analyzed using Spearman's rank correlation.

Results: Of the 3,998,055 individuals with COVID-19 included in our database, 335,279 (8.4%) were children aged 0-19 years. Eight hundred deaths in children were registered, which accounts for about 0.7% of the deaths related to COVID-19 in the country. There were important differences in the incidence and mortality rates among Brazilian regions, and a correlation between mortality rates and social (ρ = 0.519; P-value = 0.007; effect magnitude: moderate) and economic (ρ = 0.615; P-value < 0.001; effect magnitude: strong) inequalities was found in a state-level analysis.

Conclusions: This population-based study showed important regional differences in COVID-19 estimates for children in Brazil and a relationship between mortality rates and socio-economic inequalities. The knowledge of sociogeographic differences in the estimates of COVID-19 is crucial to planning societal strategies and local decision-making to mitigate the effects of disease in the pediatric population.

Keywords: COVID-19; Pediatrics; Public health; SARS-CoV-2; Socio-economic factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / mortality*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pediatrics
  • Public Health
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Socioeconomic Factors*
  • Young Adult