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Danish premature birth rates during the COVID-19 lockdown
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  • Published on:
    Preliminary data suggest that COVID-19 pandemic disruption has no impact on preterm births rates in Brazil: early nationwide estimates
    • Enny S Paixao, Research fellow London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
    • Other Contributors:
      • Julia M. Pescarini, Research Fellow
      • Wanderson K. Oliveira, Nurse
      • Giovanny V A França, Ministry of Health technician
      • Elizabeth B Brickley, Assistant professor

    Hedermann and colleagues reported a decreased rate of extremely premature birth as a potential beneficial effect of nationwide COVID-19 lockdown in Denmark1. Although this study provides important new evidence that enhances our understanding of the aetiology of extreme prematurity, comparisons with other populations are vital for delineating the mechanisms underlying the observed beneficial effect. Moreover, uncertainty remains about the direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdowns on live births globally. To begin to address these gaps in knowledge, we used preliminary administrative data from the Brazilian Live Births Information System (SINASC) to assess the effect of COVID-19 and its associated disruptions on prematurity rates in a middle-income country with a high incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Similarly, to Hedermann and colleagues1, we included the months of most intensive social distance interventions (17th March to 31st May 2020)2 and excluded registrations with multiple births. However, to adapt for the Brazilian data, we also excluded congenital abnormalities and used as comparison the same period but only for the year of 2019, due to the Zika virus epidemic that occurred in previous years. We included 613,640 live births from 2019 and 560,691 from 2020. Overall, we observed similar rates of premature births in both years; the proportion of extremely preterm births was 4.57/1000 live births in 2019 vs 4.52/1000 live bi...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.