COVID-19: Mexico begins to breathe

Mexico, hit hard by the pandemic, appears to have been experiencing a slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus for more than two months.

Its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who contracted the infection himself in February, made an observation on Tuesday, saying he was “encouraged” by the situation, even calling it “a breath of fresh air.”

In fact, in 14 weeks, the number of weekly deaths increased from 9,549 to 1,621, and the number of hospitalizations fell, according to Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, in charge of the coronavirus strategy. to 6,000 today after peaking in January at around 27,000.

Estimated infections rose from 112,415 to 18,953 over the same period, Lopez-Gatel added, despite Mexico’s reluctance to conduct mass screening of the population.

However, during his daily press conference, the president called for caution, as his country has recorded 215,547 deaths to date, making it the third most fatal country in the world.

In total, 2.3 million cases per 126 million inhabitants have been registered to date, with a death rate of 19 per 100,000 people.

“We still have to be very vigilant, but this is good news,” said the leader, who was accused by his opponents of handling this crisis in a chaotic manner.

Herd immunity?

Mexico experienced its deadliest month in January, with an average of 983 deaths per day, which authorities attributed to year-end rallies.

Images of families looking for oxygen tanks or paramedics trying to find beds have invaded the Mexican media space.

But in the weeks that the June 6 legislative campaign is in full swing, the situation has changed, in contrast to countries like Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, which are still facing new challenges. A wave of infection, forcing them to strengthen restrictive measures.

“We do not have a clear and consistent explanation, as in Israel or the United States, which introduced very large vaccination coverage. However, we behave very differently from other countries, ”Malakias Lopez, professor of public health at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), told AFP.

While Mexico’s census systems for deaths and sick people are flawed, he said, declining infections “are real.”

Among the hypotheses that could explain this decline, this expert mentions possible massive herd immunity, as well as Mexico’s vaccination strategy.

But, in his opinion, “we need to do serious research that will show us the proportions of people carrying antibodies, and give us an idea of ​​how we can get closer to the magic number of herd immunity.”

Since December 24, 16.5 million doses have been administered, mainly to healthcare workers and the elderly.


After hitting the lowest hospital admission rate last week (25% of available beds occupied), authorities in Mexico City – the country’s epicenter of the pandemic – on Monday authorized a limited reopening of private offices that have closed since March 23, 2020.

“After more than a year, many companies have not been able to fully resume their activities, including private schools and cinemas,” says Armando Zuniga, director of Coparmex, a private initiative organization.

“The fact that finally there is an opportunity, even if it is 20%, is already very positive for the economy, even if we have to treat it with great caution,” he adds.

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