Coronavirus
Workers prepare graves for 1,500 anticipated Covid victims in Jalisco last year. Workers prepare graves for 1,500 anticipated Covid victims in Jalisco last year.

Government concedes Covid deaths more than 60% higher than official numbers

Using 'excess deaths' data, health ministry calculates death toll at 321,000

The federal government has acknowledged that Mexico’s true Covid-19 death toll is above 321,000, a figure almost 60% higher than the official count of test-confirmed fatalities.

Mexico’s official death toll has long been widely considered a vast undercount due to the extremely low testing rate and because many people have died at home during the pandemic without being tested for Covid-19.

Consequently, the analysis of excess mortality data and death certificates has been the only way to get a clearer picture of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Mexico.

The Health Ministry on Saturday quietly published such a report that said that that there were 294,287 deaths attributable to Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic through February 14.

That number is 69% higher than the official figure of 174,207 deaths reported by the same Health Ministry on February 14. Since that date, an additional 27,416 test-confirmed Covid-19 fatalities have been reported, meaning that there have been at least 321,703 deaths that are attributable to the disease.

Although the Health Ministry acknowledged the “excess deaths” in its report, the official death toll as of Sunday nevertheless  stands at 201,623.

The real death toll, as detailed in the report, is 59.5% higher than the official count.

Mexico has the third highest Covid-19 death toll in the world after the United States and Brazil based on official figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The real death toll, however, is higher than the official count in Brazil, which currently stands at about 312,000.

Johns Hopkins data shows that Mexico ranks 17th in the world for Covid deaths per capita with 159.8 fatalities per 100,000 people. However, based on the real death toll, Mexico’s mortality rate is 254.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, higher than the official rate of any other country.

The government report also reveals just how deadly Mexico’s second wave of the coronavirus was. By the end of December, there had been about 220,000 deaths attributable to Covid-19. That figure rose by more than 74,000 in the first 1 1/2 months of the year.

January was the worst month of the pandemic in terms of both new cases and deaths with almost 33,000 of the latter, according to official numbers. However, the real death toll in the first month of the year was likely above 50,000.

The report also revealed that the total number of excess deaths since the start of the pandemic was about 417,000. Excess mortality data is determined by comparing deaths in a certain period of time to the average in the same period in previous years.

About 70.5% of the excess deaths were determined to be Covid-related but some experts say that the pandemic also likely contributed to other excess fatalities because many people were unable to get the medical treatment they required because hospitals were overwhelmed by an influx of coronavirus patients.

Source: AP (sp) 

Reader forum

The forum is available to logged-in subscribers only.