New coronavirus case numbers hit a record high for a second consecutive day on Thursday while the daily Covid-19 death toll was above 1,000 for the third day in a row.
The Health Ministry reported 13,734 new cases, 389 more than the previous record set Wednesday. Almost 41% of the new cases – 5,590 – were detected in Mexico City, the country’s coronavirus epicenter.
Mexico’s accumulated tally now stands at 1.49 million, the 13th highest total in the world. The Health Ministry estimates that 81,652 cases are currently active.
An additional 1,044 Covid-19 fatalities were reported Thursday, lifting the death toll to 131,031. Mexico ranks fourth for total deaths after the United States, Brazil and India.
Thursday’s four-figure daily death toll came after a record high of 1,165 fatalities was reported on Wednesday. A day earlier, 1,065 deaths were added to the grim tally.
Just over a quarter of the deaths reported Thursday occurred in Mexico City, where almost 23,000 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
A suspension of nonessential economic activities in the capital remains active after Mexico City switched to “maximum” risk red on the coronavirus stoplight map a week before Christmas.
“We’re still on the red light and we need the participation of everyone to reduce infections and hospitalizations. Let’s stay at home, don’t go out if it’s not necessary,” Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said in a message posted to her Twitter account on Friday morning.
Hospital occupancy levels remain concerning in Mexico City, where 89% of general care beds are occupied and 84% of those with ventilators are in use.
Four other states have an occupancy rate above 70% for general care beds. They are México state, 82%; Nuevo León, 80%; Hidalgo, 79%; and Guanajuato, 78%. Seven states – Baja California, Morelos, Puebla, Querétaro, Sonora, Tlaxcala and Nayarit – have general care bed occupancy rates between 50% and 69%. The other 20 states have rates below 50%.
At 79%, México state has the second highest occupancy rate for beds with ventilators. Five states – Nuevo León, Baja California, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala and Querétaro – have rates between 50% and 69%, while fewer than half of beds with ventilators are occupied in 25 states.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s vaccination program continues, albeit at a slow pace. The Health Ministry reported Thursday that 58,402 people – mainly health workers – have received a first shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. A total of 4,444 people received a first dose of the vaccine on Thursday, according to data presented at the ministry’s Thursday night coronavirus press briefing.
To date, Mexico has received just 107,250 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, although it has a deal to purchase 34.4 million doses. It is the only vaccine currently being used in Mexico but the health regulatory agency Cofepris approved the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine on Monday. Mexico intends to purchase 77.4 million doses of that vaccine but inoculation with it is not expected to begin until March.
Mexico also has an agreement to purchase 35 million doses of China’s CanSino Biologics single-dose vaccine. Immunization could begin in February if it is approved by Cofepris, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said Thursday.
The government announced earlier this week that it expects to vaccinate 12.45 million seniors against Covid-19 by the end of March but only provided limited details about its ambitious plan.
It presented a multi-stage national vaccination plan last month that prioritizes the early inoculation of health workers and the elderly.
Source: El Economista (sp)