COVID-19: Mexico begins to breathe

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Mexico | Mexico, hard hit by the pandemic, seems for more than two months to experience a slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus.

Its president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was himself infected in February, made the observation Tuesday by saying he was “encouraged” by this situation, going so far as to describe it as “a breath of fresh air”.

In fact, according to the Under-Secretary for Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell, in charge of the strategy to fight against the coronavirus, in 14 weeks, the number of weekly deaths has increased from 9,549 to 1,621, while the number of hospitalizations has dropped to 6,000 today after peaking in January at around 27,000.

Estimated cases of contamination rose from 112,415 to 18,953 during the same period, added Lopez-Gatell, despite the fact that Mexico did not want to mass test the population.

The president, during his daily press conference, however called for caution since his country has so far recorded 215,547 dead, an absolute figure which places it in third position among the most bereaved countries.

In total, 2.3 million cases for 126 million inhabitants have so far been recorded with a death rate of 19 per 100,000 people.

“We must still be very vigilant, but this is good news,” said the leader accused by his opponents of having managed this crisis in an erratic manner.

Towards collective immunity?

In January, Mexico experienced its deadliest month with a daily average of 983 deaths, which authorities attributed to year-end rallies.

Images of families searching for oxygen cylinders or paramedics struggling to find beds had invaded the Mexican media space.

But over the weeks, as the campaign for the June 6 legislative elections is in full swing, the situation has changed, unlike that of countries like Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador, which still face new challenges. wave of contamination, forcing them to strengthen restrictive measures.

“We do not have a clear and coherent explanation, like Israel or the United States, which implemented a very large vaccination coverage. However, we behave very differently from that of other countries, ”Malaquías López, professor of public health at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), told AFP.

Although, according to him, the census systems of the sick and dead in Mexico are deficient, the decline in the number of infections “is a reality”.

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

But, he believes, “we need to conduct serious studies which show us the proportions of people carrying antibodies and which give us an idea of ​​how we can approach the magic number of collective immunity” .

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


After reaching its lowest level of hospitalizations last week (25% of available beds occupied), the authorities of Mexico City – the country’s pandemic epicenter – on Monday authorized the limited reopening of private offices, 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,” notes Armando Zuniga, director of Coparmex, a private initiative organization.

“That there is finally an opening, even if it is 20%, is already very positive for the economy, even if we must take it with a lot of caution,” he adds.