Coronavirus
With orange off the map, the fourth wave continues to recede. With orange off the map, the fourth wave continues to recede. Semáforo de riesgo epidémico

COVID roundup: Mexico’s coronavirus map greening up once again

Active cases are declining but fatalities remain elevated

The federal government’s new coronavirus stoplight map is painted low risk green and medium risk yellow in equal measures as Mexico’s fourth wave of COVID continues to recede.

Sixteen of the 32 federal entities are green, up from just four on the previous map, while the other 16 are yellow, an increase of three.

Five of the six northern border states are yellow, as are the Pacific coast states of Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima and Oaxaca, and the small Bajío region state of Aguascalientes.

The other five yellow entities are clustered in central Mexico. They are Mexico City, Morelos, México state, Hidalgo and Querétaro.

Orange is absent on the new map after dominating on the previous one, with 15 states considered high risk between February 7 and 20.

Face mask-clad pedestrians in downtown Mexico City, December 2021. A recent survey found that Mexico has one of the highest rates of mask usage in the Americas.
Face mask-clad pedestrians in downtown Mexico City in December 2021. A recent survey found that Mexico has one of the highest rates of mask usage in the Americas.

The updated map takes effect Monday and will remain in force through March 6. It’s indicative of a significantly improved coronavirus situation after the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant resulted in a new pandemic record of almost 1 million reported cases in January.

The Health Ministry reported 470,835 new cases during the first 20 days of February for a daily average of 23,541. That’s a 24% decrease compared to January’s daily average of 31,060 cases. There are currently just over 73,000 estimated active cases, a figure well below last month’s peak of over 300,000.

While case numbers have declined this month, COVID-19 deaths have increased. There were 9,597 reported fatalities in the first 20 days of February, almost 3,000 more than the number recorded in all of January.

However, the number of COVID-19 deaths is lower than during the delta-fueled third wave, and even lower in comparison with some months earlier in the pandemic when vaccines were not widely available or hadn’t yet been developed. Mexico’s worst month of the pandemic in terms of deaths was January 2021 with almost 33,000.

As of Sunday, the country’s official death tool stood at 315,688, while the accumulated case tally was 5.41 million.

In other COVID-19 news:

• Over 85 million people have been vaccinated against COVID in Mexico, the Health Ministry reported Sunday. The figure represents 67% of the country’s total population of approximately 126 million.

The vast majority of those who have had at least one shot – 93% – are fully vaccinated. Among people aged 18 and over, the vaccination rate rises to 90%, according to official data.

• One-quarter of hospital beds in general care COVID wards were occupied on Sunday, a 1% decrease compared to the previous day. The occupancy rate for beds with ventilators was unchanged at 18%. Just under 4,900 COVID patients are in public hospitals, federal data shows.

• Although the federal government has sent mixed messages about the efficacy of face masks, about 90% of Mexicans regularly use them, an online survey indicates.

Recent data collected via the Global COVID-19 Trends and Impact Survey shows that the only country in the Americas with a higher mask usage rate is Chile, at about 92%.

Mexico’s mask use rate is higher than that of many other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, but below the rates in many Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Conducted by the University of Maryland and the Carnegie Mellon University, the survey asks Facebook users a wide range of pandemic-related questions.

With reports from El País

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