Mexico has the fourth-highest death toll in the world from the virus after the United States, Brazil and India.
Mexico has passed 1 million cases of coronavirus, according to top health officials, and it has recorded nearly 100,000 confirmed deaths.
Mexico’s Director-General for Health Promotion Ricardo Curtis Alcala announced on Saturday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico has now reached 1003,253, with at least 98,259 deaths from COVID-19.
The country has recorded the fourth highest death toll in the world due to the virus, after the United States, Brazil and India, according to an AFP statistics based on official figures. It also has the eleventh place in terms of the number of injuries.
Critics are blaming the increased COVID-19 toll on the government’s refusal to follow internationally accepted practices in managing the pandemic, from wearing face masks to lockdowns, testing and contact tracing.
Assistant Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatel said earlier that any broader testing would be “a waste of time, effort and money” and face masks “an aid measure to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Since the pandemic began, Mexico has only managed about 2.5 million tests for its citizens; Only critically ill people are tested in Mexico. Testing only 1.9 percent of the population since the start of the pandemic has made it difficult, if not impossible, to effectively track contacts, detect outbreaks early, or identify asymptomatic cases.
Meanwhile, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador almost does not wear a mask, and Lopez Gatel only occasionally wears a mask.
The government earlier announced the lockdown on March 23, although basic economic activities continued, without imposing penalties for non-compliance.
Mexico City, the epicenter of the country’s outbreak, has tried an alternative approach, which is to identify neighborhoods where clusters of cases have occurred and give them special attention. Bright yellow warning posters reading “Beware! You are entering a high infested area” are now spreading across the city. Special kiosks have been set up in such neighborhoods to conduct some checks and few health workers have gone door-to-door looking for cases. But this is rare.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Shenbaum announced on Friday the closure of bars for 15 days and the closing times of restaurants, cinemas and gyms earlier due to the high cases of coronavirus infection and hospitalization during the past week.
Shinbaum also said that daily checks will be increased to 10,000.
For the frontline doctors, the official response has been sometimes frustrated.
Dr. Arturo Galindo, head of the infectious disease program at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition, one of the leading public hospitals in Mexico, saw his ICU filling 100 percent in recent weeks as Mexicans relaxed and began keeping more congregations. The hospital is now sending critical COVID-19 cases to other treatment centers.
“I had arguments on the street when I say, ‘Hey, put on your face mask,’ and people argue with me, citing the argument, ‘Well, the president doesn’t do that,’ and that’s their only argument,” Galindo told the Associated Press.
“It wouldn’t be bad if (Lopez Obrador) was a role model.”