An additional 18,262 confirmed coronavirus cases were added to Mexico’s accumulated case tally on Tuesday, while the COVID-19 death toll rose by 940.
There have now been just under 3.25 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, a figure that likely represents just a small fraction of the number of people who have really been infected in a country where the federal government has never prioritized widespread testing as a means to combat the spread of the virus.
Mexico’s COVID-19 death toll – also widely considered to be a vast undercount – now stands at 254,466, the fourth highest total in the world.
There are an estimated 124,835 active cases across Mexico, according to the federal Health Ministry, with the highest numbers in Mexico City, México state, Nuevo León and Tabasco.
Almost 81 million vaccine doses have been administered, according to the most recent data, and about one quarter of all Mexicans, adults and children, are fully vaccinated. About 44% of the population has had at least one shot.
Mexico is currently amid a delta variant-driven third wave of the pandemic with average daily case numbers reaching their highest level yet this month.
In other COVID-19 news:
• Oaxaca is one of several states that is currently recording its highest daily case tallies. The state Health Ministry reported a new high of 749 cases last Thursday and hundreds more new infections were recorded on subsequent days. As of Monday, there were an estimated 2,141 active cases in the southern state, according to the federal Health Ministry.
Among the municipalities that have seen recent spikes in case numbers are Santa María Tonameca, Huautla de Jiménez and San Mateo del Mar.
Oaxaca Health Minister Juan Carlos Márquez Heine said Tuesday that more than 3,500 children have tested positive for COVID-19 this year, 42 of whom died.
Just over 57% of general care beds in COVID-19 wards are currently occupied, while 58% of those with ventilators are in use, according to federal data.
• Tlaxcala has the highest occupancy rate in the country for general care hospital beds with just over 77% currently taken. Five other states have rates above 70%. They are Hidalgo, Veracruz, Colima, San Luis Potosí and Durango.
Colima has the highest occupancy rate for beds with ventilators with more than 82% currently in use. Tabasco ranks second with a rate of 71% followed by Nayarit, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Tlaxcala and Nuevo León, all of which have rates above 60%.
• Students returning to schools in Mexico City next week will be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing but pupil numbers won’t be capped nor will staggered timetables be followed to reduce crowding. Authorities in the capital announced a range of measures on Tuesday to guide the safe reopening of schools on August 30. Among them: students will have their temperatures checked when they enter and will be required to wash their hands regularly.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum ruled out any possibility of shutting down schools if small numbers of students test positive to COVID-19. She also said she expected the vast majority of students to return to in-person classes next week.
Federal Education Minister Delfina Gómez said that 90% of primary and middle schools across Mexico were on track to open next Monday. Schools closed in March 2020 at the onset of the pandemic and most haven’t reopened since. A recent survey found that seven out of 10 children want to return to in-person classes.
• The Baja California Sur representative of federal health regulator Cofepris said earlier this month that asking people for proof of vaccination to enter places such as restaurants and shopping centers was illegal.
“It’s prohibited and it’s illegal for owners of shopping centers and/or restaurants in Baja California Sur to ask citizens who want to enter their businesses to show vaccination certificates,” said Blanca Pulido Medrano.
Authorities in two states announced last month that people will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test result to enter public places such as restaurants, bars and shopping centers.
Pulido said that only the federal government should have the authority to decide where it is necessary for citizens to provide proof of vaccination.
• Federal judges in several states have ruled in favor of children having the right to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The newspaper Reforma reported that in the past two weeks eight judges have ruled that children’s right to health care prevails over the government’s national vaccination rollout, which has not yet offered shots to people aged under 18.
The judges’ rulings came in response to injunction requests filed by parents. Fifteen injunctions ordering the vaccination of children have been issued in Mexico City, México state, Querétaro and San Luis Potosí. More than 30 other requests have been rejected in states including Mexico City, México state, Puebla and Nuevo León.
• The federal government has received a shipment of 1.75 million Moderna vaccine doses donated to Mexico by the United States government. The consignment arrived at the airport in Toluca, México state, on Tuesday morning.
The shipment, which arrived on a flight from Memphis, is part of a donation of 8.5 million vaccine doses the Biden administration has pledged to send to Mexico. The U.S. government has also provided millions of doses to Mexico as part of a loan scheme.