Epidemiologist and professor Pedro Hallal, former dean of the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel), received this Monday (13), in Atlanta, in the United States, the David P. Rall Award for Advocacy in Public Health (“Public Health Defense Award”, translated into Portuguese), from American Public Health Association (APHA).
The recognition was due to the work of the epidemiologist leading the study of Evolution of the Prevalence of Covid-19 (Epicovid)which mapped the development of the coronavirus in Brazil since the beginning of the pandemic.
The study began in Rio Grande do Sul in April 2020, a few days after the start of the pandemic, and lasted until the end of 2021, with 11 data collection phases. Nationally, the study had three stages starting in May 2020.
“Epicovid was one of the first studies in the world to show the importance of the symptom of loss of smell and taste, which was very characteristic of the disease. It was also one of the first studies to show that children caught (the disease) as much as adults. It also showed the results by socioeconomic level, that poor people had twice the risk of contracting the virus”, explains Hallal.
According to APHA, the award was given to Hallal for “Share Covid health data in Brazil with the worlddespite threats to his life and well-being from the Brazilian government”, referring to the administration of former president Jair Bolsonaro.
Hallal, who currently lives in the United States and is a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, says he signed a contract with the Ministry of Health to develop what is being called Epicovid 2.0. The study must research the repercussions of the pandemic in the country and collect data on the impacts of the disease on education, the job market, mental health, as well as long-term symptoms and vaccine knowledge in the population.