Active coronavirus cases increased 44% over the past week, according to federal Health Ministry estimates, while on Wednesday Mexico recorded its highest single day case tally since January.
There are currently 92,738 estimated active cases, the Health Ministry reported Wednesday as it announced 15,198 new infections, the highest daily tally since January 30, when Mexico was amid the second – and worst – wave of the pandemic.
The highly contagious Delta strain of the virus is driving a third wave but while case numbers have risen quickly, hospitalizations and deaths remain, for now, well below the levels seen during the first and second waves, indicating that Mexico’s vaccine rollout is achieving its goal.
Almost one-third of the active cases – 29,945 – are in Mexico City, which has retained the unenviable title of the nation’s coronavirus epicenter since the beginning of the pandemic.
México state ranks second for estimated active cases with 8,451, while Jalisco, Sinaloa and Nuevo León rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, with more than 4,000 each.
The Health Ministry also reported 397 additional Covid-19 fatalities on Wednesday, lifting the accumulated death toll to 237,207, a figure considered a vast undercount. The accumulated case tally stands at 2.69 million, the 16th highest total in the world.
The occupancy rate of general care hospital beds for Covid patients rose 1% on Wednesday to 35% while 29% of beds with ventilators are in use. Most hospitalized patients are younger than 50 and unvaccinated.
Just under 800,000 vaccine doses were administered on Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported, increasing the total number of shots given since December 24 to just over 55.9 million. Forty-four percent of Mexican adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
The director of health emergencies at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned Wednesday that “the significant increase” in case numbers requires the continued observance of virus mitigation measures over the summer months as the economy opens up and large numbers of tourists arrive.
A safe reactivation of the economy – which slumped 8.5% last year – is a “shared responsibility” of authorities and citizens, Ciro Ugarte said, while acknowledging that a busier economy will make social distancing more difficult.
“We hope that this increase in cases can be controlled in relation to the capacity of health services. Mexico still has capacity and … [we hope] the economic reopening doesn’t have a major impact [on the health system],” Ugarte said.
The PAHO official acknowledged the progress Mexico has made in inoculating its adult population but said a much higher level of vaccination is desirable. The majority of the population below 50 is still not fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and most people younger than 30 have not yet had the opportunity to get a first shot.
At least 70% of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity, according to World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan.
Some countries with high vaccination rates, such as the United States and United Kingdom, are currently recording high case numbers as the coronavirus– and in particular the Delta strain – finds vulnerable (and in some cases even vaccinated) people to infect.
With reports from Milenio