Additional evidence that the coronavirus pandemic has been far deadlier than official numbers indicate was published on Wednesday.
There were almost half a million more deaths than expected in Mexico between January 2020 and March 2021, the national statistics agency Inegi reported.
Based on 2015-19 mortality data, 940,329 deaths were expected in the 15-month period. Instead there were 1,437,805 deaths, a difference of 497,476, or 53%.
Mexico recorded its first official COVID-19 death in March 2020 while the official death toll at the end of March 2021 stood at 203,210, a figure equal to just under 41% of the excess deaths.
Not all such deaths can be attributed to COVID-19 – especially considering that some people have put off seeking treatment for other medical conditions during the pandemic – but most of them likely were.
The federal government acknowledged at the end of March that Mexico’s true COVID-19 death toll was almost 60% higher than the official count of test-confirmed fatalities but the new Inegi data suggests that the real figure could be even higher.
If three-quarters of the excess fatalities were caused by COVID, Mexico’s real death toll at the end of March was 84% higher than the official one.
Excess mortality was more prevalent among men than women between January 2020 and March 2021. Almost 592,000 women died in the period, a figure nearly 179,000, or 43%, higher than that anticipated. Almost 845,500 men died in the same period, almost 318,000, or 60%, more than expected.
The data is consistent with evidence that shows that men are more likely to die from COVID-19 than women.
Mexico City – the country’s coronavirus epicenter since the beginning of the pandemic – recorded the highest excess mortality rate with 85.6% more deaths than expected. México state and Tlaxcala both ranked second with mortality 77.1% higher than expected, while Puebla and Morelos rounded out the top five with rates of 55.7% and 54.8%, respectively.
In the first three months of this year – a period that includes Mexico’s worst month of the pandemic in terms of deaths – there were 29 fatalities per 10,000 people, according to Inegi, an 80% increase compared to the same period of 2020.
Mexico City had the highest per capita death rate in the period with 60 fatalities per 10,000 people. Morelos ranked second with 41 followed by Guanajuato (35) and Tlaxcala (35).
Quintana Roo had the lowest rate with 13 fatalities per 10,000 people followed by Chiapas (15) and Campeche (16). The latter two states have the lowest coronavirus case tallies in the country.
The total number of deaths across Mexico in the first three months of 2021 was 368,906, the highest first quarter figure on record.
With reports from El Universal