Sunday, December 3, 2023

Coronavirus fatality rate nearly two times higher in poor communities

Poor and indigenous Mexicans who have been infected with the new coronavirus have died at much higher rates than the general population, data shows.

With 462,690 confirmed coronavirus cases and 50,517 Covid-19 deaths as of Thursday, Mexico’s fatality rate is currently 10.9 per 100 cases.

But data from Coneval, the federal government’s social development agency, shows that the fatality rate in Mexico’s 427 poorest municipalities is 14.1.

By contrast, the coronavirus fatality rate in the country’s 54 wealthiest municipalities is 8.1, meaning that people who live in impoverished parts of the country are almost twice as likely to die if they become sick with Covid-19 than those who live in affluent areas.

The difference between the fatality rates of some poor and rich municipalities paints an even starker picture of the situation.

The case fatality rate in the Mexico City borough of Miguel Hidalgo, home to the upscale neighborhoods of Polanco and Lomas de Chapultepec, is eight whereas the rate in Motozintla, located in Chiapas on the border with Guatemala, is 34.

In Benito Juárez, a Mexico City borough where the United Nations says human development is virtually on a par with Switzerland, the coronavirus fatality rate is 9.4 whereas in the predominantly indigenous municipality of Tlachichuca, Puebla, the rate is 30.

In San Pedro Garza García, a municipality in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Nuevo León, that was last year rated as the most livable city in Mexico, just over four people per 100 who have tested positive for coronavirus have died.

In Tlapa de Comonfort in Guerrero’s Montaña region the fatality rate is more than five times higher – 22 of every 100 people who tested positive lost their lives to Covid-19.

The differences between the two municipalities, located at opposite ends of the country, don’t end there.

In San Pedro Garza García, dubbed Saint Peter by some locals, there are three first-rate private hospitals and an IMSS clinic among other health care facilities. Residents also have access to other hospitals in the Monterrey area and can even fly to Texas in just an hour to seek medical attention if they have the means to do so.

In Tlapa, the health care situation is very different. There is just one third-rate hospital in the municipality that is treating coronavirus patients, Milenio reported, and getting there is an ordeal for residents who live in isolated rural communities.

Indigenous Mexicans – many of whom also live in poverty – infected with coronavirus have also died at a much higher rate than the population in general.

Data from the national statistics agency Inegi shows that 3,527 people who identify as indigenous have tested positive for Covid-19 and 650 of them died. Those figures yield a fatality rate of 18.4 per 100 cases, well above the national rate of 10.9.

Yucatán, which has a large Mayan population, has recorded the most Covid-19 deaths among indigenous people with 163. That figure accounts for 25% of the indigenous Covid-19 death toll.

Oaxaca, home to a range of indigenous groups, has recorded 101 fatalities among indigenous residents, while México state ranks third for total indigenous deaths with 69.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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