Mexico’s official Covid-19 death toll will reach almost 210,000 by June 1, according to a United States-based health research institute, an increase of more than 23,000 over the current total.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle predicts that Mexico’s death toll will reach 209,768 by June 1, an increase of 23,616 compared to the current total of 186,152 fatalities.
Excess mortality data suggests that Mexico’s real Covid-19 death toll is already well above that level. Official data published in late February showed that Mexico had registered 977,081 deaths since March 2020, over 335,000 more than an expected 641,556 based on the 2015-2019 death tolls.
The IHME predicts that with universal mask usage the death toll will reach just over 208,000 by the start of June while in a worst case scenario in which people’s mobility increases toward pre-pandemic levels, 210,463 will have lost their lives to Covid-19 by that date.
All three of the institute’s projections indicate that there will be fewer Covid-19 fatalities in the three-month period between March and May than there were in February, during which Mexico’s Covid-19 death toll increased by 27,179.
The average daily death toll reported in February declined only 8% compared to January – the worst month of the pandemic for both new cases and deaths – but the average daily case tally fell 44%, meaning that fatalities should fall considerably this month.
There was an encouraging sign on the first day of March with only 2,343 new cases reported. (The accumulated tally currently stands at 2.09 million.)
However, it remains to be seen if Mexico will see a sustained decline in case numbers that would prevent the death toll from increasing again at the pace seen in January and February.
Parties, travel and gatherings of families and friends over the Christmas-New Year vacation period fueled Mexico’s coronavirus crisis in early 2021 and experts warn that Easter holidays pose a similar risk.
“We’re just starting to see a reduction in cases … and if we don’t obey the prevention measures and we flood the beaches, coastal resorts and large cities, cases and deaths due to coronavirus won’t go down, even with the vaccine,” Malaquías López Cervantes, a public health professor at the National Autonomous University (UNAM), told the newspaper El Universal.
UNAM mathematician Arturo Erdely also warned that the Easter holiday period could cause case numbers and deaths to spike. He noted that Mexico doesn’t require incoming travelers to present a negative Covid-19 test result, asserting “that could cause upticks in Covid cases and deaths.”
“The use of face masks must always be promoted and when we get the vaccine [we should] carry on as if we haven’t had it. That’s the only way we’ll be able to take an important step … [toward defeating] Covid,” Erdely said.
Mexico had administered just over 2.5 million vaccine doses as of Monday night, mainly to frontline health workers and seniors. Almost 4.7 million doses have now arrived in Mexico including a shipment of 852,150 Pfizer shots that reached Mexico City on Tuesday.
President López Obrador predicted last month that the country’s approximately 15.7 million seniors will have received at least one vaccine dose by the middle of April, two weeks later than previously anticipated. Mexico is inoculating the population against Covid-19 according to a five-stage vaccination plan and expects to immunize about 75% of adults by the end of the year.
Mexico News Daily