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medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.05.05.20091611


The recent emergence of a previously unknown coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), first confirmed in the city of Wuhan in China in December 2019, has caused serious public health and economic issues due to its rapid dissemination worldwide. Although 61,888 confirmed cases had been reported in Brazil by 28 April 2020, little was known about the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the country. To better understand the recent epidemic in the second most populous state in southeast Brazil (Minas Gerais, MG), we looked at existing epidemiological data from 3 states and sequenced 40 complete genomes from MG cases using Nanopore. We found evidence of multiple independent introductions from outside MG, both from genome analyses and the overly dispersed distribution of reported cases and deaths. Epidemiological estimates of the reproductive number using different data sources and theoretical assumptions all suggest a reduction in transmission potential since the first reported case, but potential for sustained transmission in the near future. The estimated date of introduction in Brazil was consistent with epidemiological data from the first case of a returning-traveler from Lombardia, Italy. These findings highlight the unique reality of MGs epidemic and reinforce the need for real-time and continued genomic surveillance strategies as a way of understanding and therefore preparing against the epidemic spread of emerging viral pathogens.