The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic hit almost all cities in Brazil in early 2020 and lasted for several months. Despite the effort of local state and municipal governments, an inhomogeneous nationwide response resulted in a death toll amongst the highest recorded globally. To evaluate the impact of the nonpharmaceutical governmental interventions applied by different cities—such as the closure of schools and businesses in general—in the evolution and epidemic spread of SARS-CoV-2, we constructed a full-sized agent-based epidemiological model adjusted to the singularities of particular cities. The model incorporates detailed demographic information, mobility networks segregated by economic segments, and restricting bills enacted during the pandemic period. As a case study, we analyzed the early response of the City of Natal—a midsized state capital—to the pandemic. Although our results indicate that the government response could be improved, the restrictive mobility acts saved many lives. The simulations show that a detailed analysis of alternative scenarios can inform policymakers about the most relevant measures for similar pandemic surges and help develop future response protocols.


© 2022 Lopes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Lopes, P., Wellacott, L., de Almeida, L., Villavicencio, L., de Lucena Moreira, A., Andrade, D., de Carvalho Souza, A., de Sousa, R., de Souza Silva, P., Lima, L., Lones, M., do Nascimento, J., Vargas, P., Moioli, R., Blanco Figuerola, W. & Rennó-Costa, C. 2022, 'Measuring the impact of nonpharmaceutical interventions on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic at a city level: An agent-based computational modelling study of the City of Natal', PLOS Global Public Health, 2(10), article no: e0000540. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgph.0000540

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Last updated: 24 November 2022
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