Objective: We aim to provide early evidence of mental distress and its associated predictors among adults one month into the COVID-19 crisis in Brazil. Methods: We conducted an online survey of 638 adults in Brazil on March 25–28, 2020, about one month (32 days) cross-sectionally after the first COVID-19 case in South America was confirmed in São Paulo. The 638 adults were in 25 states out of the 26 Brazilian states, with the only exception being Roraima, the least populated state in the Amazon. Of all the participating adults, 24%, 20%, and 18% of them were located in Rio de Janeiro state, Santa Catarina state, and São Paulo state respectively. Results: In Brazil, 52% (332) of the sampled adults experienced mild or moderate distress, and 18.8% (120) suffered severe distress. Adults who were female, younger, more educated, and exercised less reported higher levels of distress. Each individual's distance from the Brazilian epicenter of São Paulo interacted with age and workplace attendance to predict the level of distress. The “typhoon eye effect” was stronger for people who were older or attended their workplace less. The most vulnerable adults were those who were far from the epicenter and did not go to their workplace in the week before the survey. Conclusion: Identifying the predictors of distress enables mental health services to better target finding and helping the more mentally vulnerable adults during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.