The Brazilian strategy to overcome the spread of COVID-19 has been particularly criticized due to the lack of a national coordinating effort and an appropriate testing program. Here, a successful approach to control the spread of COVID-19 transmission is described by the engagement of public (university and governance) and private sectors (hospitals and oil companies) in Macaé, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a city known as the National Oil Capital. In 2020 between the 17th and 38th epidemiological week, over two percent of the 206,728 citizens were subjected to symptom analysis and RT-qPCR testing by the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, with positive individuals being notified up to 48 h after swab collection. Geocodification and spatial cluster analysis were used to limit COVID-19 spreading in Macaé. Within the first semester after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Brazil, Macaé recorded 1.8% of fatalities associated with COVID-19 up to the 38th epidemiological week, which was at least five times lower than the state capital (10.6%). Overall, considering the successful experience of this joint effort of private and public engagement in Macaé, our data suggest that the development of a similar strategy countrywise could have contributed to a better control of the COVID-19 spread in Brazil. Quarantine decree by the local administration, comprehensive molecular testing coupled to scientific analysis of COVID-19 spreading, prevented the catastrophic consequences of the pandemic as seen in other populous cities within the state of Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere in Brazil.
© 2021. The Author(s).