Mexico’s Covid-19 death toll could reach 35,000 or as many as 60,000 in a worst case scenario, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Thursday after more than 800 additional fatalities were reported.
Speaking at the Health Ministry’s nightly coronavirus press briefing, López-Gatell said that estimates about the death toll could change depending on how the pandemic develops.
“We don’t rule out 30,000 or 35,000 deaths” he said. “In a catastrophic scenario, it could be 60,000.”
His remarks came after Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía reported that the coronavirus death toll had increased to 12,545 with 816 additional fatalities registered on Thursday.
The death toll has spiked sharply in the past two days with almost 2,000 additional fatalities reported on Wednesday and Thursday. López-Gatell reiterated that not all the new deaths reported occurred in the preceding 24 hours.
More Covid-19 deaths occurred on May 17 than any other day since the start of the pandemic, he said, affirming that there were 340 fatalities on that date.
In addition to the more than 12,500 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, an additional 1,033 fatalities are suspected of having been caused by the disease but have not yet been confirmed.
If a suspected coronavirus patients dies without being tested, and is not tested post-mortem, a committee of medical specialists analyzes the case and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to attribute the death to Covid-19.
Some of the deaths reported on Wednesday and Thursday actually occurred in April but were not reported at the time because they hadn’t been confirmed as Covid-19 fatalities.
The coronavirus case tally has also spiked sharply in recent days with just over 15,000 confirmed cases reported since Monday.
Alomía reported that the case tally had increased to 105,680 with a record 4,442 cases registered on Thursday. He said that 18,377 cases are considered active, an increase of 1,548 compared to Wednesday.
Three federal entities have more than 1,000 active cases: Mexico City, with 3,945; México state, with 2,424; and Tabasco, with 1,003.
Alomía said that there are also 46,659 suspected cases across the country and that 314,063 people have now been tested.
Mexico’s per capita testing rate remains low compared to many other countries but the government has dismissed the need to significantly ramp up testing.
López-Gatell said Thursday that the government has no plans to purchase rapid tests because of doubts about their accuracy.
The use of rapid tests, rather than the “gold standard” PCR tests, could have “harmful consequences on the population,” the deputy minister said, because they could show false positives or false negatives and generate misplaced confidence or confusion.
Source: El Universal (sp)