Social distancing patterns in nine municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: the Epicovid19/RS study

Aluisio J D Barros Cesar G Victora Ana M B Menezes Bernardo L Horta Fernando Hartwig Gabriel Victora Lúcia C Pellanda Odir A Dellagostin Claudio J Struchiner Marcelo N Burattini Marcelo R Gonçalves Lia G Possuelo Liliana P Weber Sonara Lucia Estima Nadège Jacques Jenifer Härter Shana G Silva Matias Frizzo Rosangela C Lima Fernando C Barros Mariângela F Silveira Pedro C Hallal About the authors



To describe social distancing practices in nine municipalities of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, stratified by gender, age, and educational attainment.


Two sequential cross-sectional studies were conducted in the municipalities of Canoas, Caxias do Sul, Ijuí, Passo Fundo, Pelotas, Porto Alegre, Santa Cruz do Sul, Santa Maria, and Uruguaiana to estimate the population prevalence of COVID-19. The study was designed to be representative of the urban population of these municipalities. A questionnaire including three questions about social distancing was also administered to the participants. Here, we present descriptive analyses of social distancing practices by subgroups and use chi-square tests for comparisons.


In terms of degree of social distancing, 25.8% of the interviewees reported being essentially isolated and 41.1% reported being quite isolated. 20.1% of respondents reported staying at home all the time, while 44.5% left only for essential activities. More than half of households reported receiving no visits from non-residents. Adults aged 20 to 59 reported the least social distancing, while more than 80% of participants aged 60 years or older reported being essentially isolated or quite isolated. Women reported more stringent distancing than men. Groups with higher educational attainment reported going out for daily activities more frequently.


The extremes of age are more protected by social distancing, but some groups remain highly exposed. This can be an important limiting factor in controlling progression of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus Infections, prevention & control; Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice; Health Risk Behaviors; Socioeconomic Factors

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