The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Mexico hard in recent weeks with the number of cases and deaths soaring – underlining the limitations of the government’s light-touch approach to the disease.
At the time of writing, Mexico’s total death toll had reached 155,536, the third highest after the USA and Brazil and now even higher than India – a country with 10 times as many people.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mexico has surpassed 1.8 million. This is probably a gross underestimation as the number of tests per million people stands at just 36,234 – the second lowest in Latin America, only Haiti has a lower testing rate! Furthermore, 40% of the confirmed tests are positive, suggesting a large number of undetected cases in the country.
A Mexican pharmaceutical executive sighs, “The government haven’t taken the pandemic seriously and now cases and deaths are growing again, we are hearing about hospitals being overwhelmed and shortage of medicines.”
“The government haven’t taken the pandemic seriously and now cases and deaths are growing again, we are hearing about hospitals being overwhelmed and shortage of medicines.”
Pharmaceutical executive, Mexico
After President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) recently tested positive for COVID-19 perhaps the government will start to take more serious action against the disease.
Fortunately, Mexico has acquired some vaccines and started to administer the Pfizer vaccine in December but the vaccination rate is low and the total number of vaccines administered is still too low to see any impact on cases and deaths.
A public health official in Mexico confirmed AMLO’s recent announced, “Pfizer deliveries have been delayed but we are expecting 1.5 million doses to arrive in February. Also in February, 1.8 million vaccine doses are expected from COVAX and we have ordered 870,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India.”
“Pfizer deliveries have been delayed but we are expecting 1.5 million doses to arrive in February.”
Public health official, Mexico
The latter is in addition to the doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine that Mexico is packaging in its partnership with Argentina, which is currently running to schedule. There are also 6 million doses of the CanSino Biologics vaccine expected in February.
The country needs this vaccines to work as the economic crisis that is accompanying this health crisis also shows no signs of relenting. Most recently, Canada suspended all travel to Mexico until 30 April at a cost of USD 782 million according to the Mexican government – Canadian visitor numbers had already dropped 61.3% in 2020 to just over 1 million.