There were 193,170 excess deaths in Mexico between January 1 and September 26, more than 70% of which are attributable to Covid-19, the Health Ministry reported Sunday.
Ruy López Ridaura, director of the Health Ministry’s National Center for Disease Prevention and Control Programs, told Sunday night’s coronavirus press briefing that 139,153 of the excess deaths – or 72% – were judged to have been caused by Covid-19.
The figure is 50,224 higher than the official Covid-19 death toll, which currently stands at 88,924. The main reason for the discrepancy is that Mexico has an extremely low testing rate, and many suspected Covid-19 patients have died without being tested.
López said the figure of 139,153 Covid-19 deaths comes from a preliminary analysis of death certificate databases. The figure includes fatalities for which Covid-19 symptoms were mentioned on death certificates even if they were not identified as the cause of death.
López said the excess death figure was obtained by comparing the number of fatalities between January 1 and September 26 this year to the average number in the same period between 2015 and 2018.
There were a total of 718,090 deaths in the almost nine-month-long period, 193,170 — or 36.8% — more than the 2015-2018 average.
Once the excess deaths attributable to Covid-19 are deducted, there were 54,017 additional fatalities above the average level.
López didn’t explain the causes of the other excess deaths but experts in other countries have said that crowded hospitals may be a factor in more people dying from illnesses not related to Covid-19.
Another possible reason is that some people didn’t seek timely treatment for illnesses that turned out to be fatal out of fear of being infected with the coronavirus at the hospital.
The excess mortality rate was highest this year among Mexicans aged 45 to 64, with 63% more deaths than in previous years.
There were 33% more fatalities among citizens aged 65 and above, while the excess mortality rate for those aged 20 to 44 was 18%.
Campeche, the only state with a green light “low” risk rating according the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight system, had the highest excess mortality rate between January and September, with 65% more deaths than the average for previous years.
México state, which ranks second among the 32 states for Covid-19 deaths, ranks second, with an excess morality rate of 64%.
Mexico City – which leads the country for both confirmed coronavirus cases and Covid-19 deaths – and Quintana Roo follow, each having an excess mortality rate of 60% between January and September.
Every state recorded more deaths in 2020 than in previous years but five had excess mortality rates below 10%. They were Durango (4%), Chiapas (5%), Nayarit (6%), Guerrero (8%) and Yucatán (9%).
López said the excess morality rates cannot be used to assess the effectiveness of the pandemic response in each state.
Therefore authorities in states with lower rates haven’t necessarily done a better job in controlling the virus than those with higher rates.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to 891,160 on Sunday with 4,360 new cases registered by health authorities. The official Covid-19 death toll rose to 88,924 with an additional 181 fatalities reported.