As many as 10,500 cases of Covid-19 in Mexico will be serious and could require treatment in intensive care, according to a group of specialists in emergency medicine.
Nineteen experts with the Mexican Society of Emergency Medicine (SMME) made the prediction in a document that outlines protocols for healthcare workers to follow when treating patients with the infectious disease.
“In Mexico we have been in phase 2 [of the coronavirus outbreak] since March 23 … and it is possible that due to the virus’s progression, phase 3 will officially begin on April 19 with authorities estimating that between 600,000 and 1.2 million people will be infected [over the course of the phase]. Of that number, 10,500 would be serious cases that could merit admission to emergency departments and intensive care units,” the experts said.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, the government’s main spokesperson on the coronavirus pandemic, has said that phase 3 of the outbreak, in which community transmission of the disease is widespread, is inevitable. He has said in recent days that the phase could commence in the next two or three weeks.
While the federal government says that it has responded in a timely manner to the pandemic and is taking the necessary steps to prepare for a large influx of Covid-19 patients to the nation’s hospitals, the SMME president takes a different view.
|Coronavirus by state|
|Estado de México||9||320||609||1136|
|San Luis Potosí||3||41||187||464|
|Baja California Sur||2||56||149||236|
“It’s not the first time that we’ve been affected by a pandemic but … it seems like it is because of the lack of preparation, lack of resources, lack of infrastructure. It’s one of our realities and weaknesses as a country,” said Javier Saavedra Uribe.
Medical personnel across Mexico have protested a lack of personal protective equipment to treat Covid-19 patients, warning that they are at significant risk of being infected if they don’t have access to essential items such as face masks, gloves and gowns.
In their Covid-19 protocol guide, the SMME emergency doctors warned that the capacity to treat coronavirus patients will be affected if large numbers of medical personnel are infected with the disease, as has already occurred at a public hospital in Monclova, Coahuila.
“The high possibility of contagion for health personnel must be emphasized. That would significantly reduce the capacity [to provide] adequate care to those seriously unwell with Covid-19 and other diseases,” they said.
The warning comes as confirmed cases of Covid-19 and deaths from the disease continue to rise steadily.
The Health Ministry reported 346 new cases on Tuesday – the first time that single-day case numbers exceeded 300 – and 16 additional deaths.
Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía said that 2,785 cases of Covid-19 have now been confirmed in Mexico and that 141 people have lost their lives to the disease.
There are also 7,526 suspected coronavirus cases, an increase of more than 1,200 compared to Monday, and 15,099 people have tested negative for Covid-19.
At the conclusion of the government’s coronavirus press briefing, López-Gatell reiterated that the Semana Santa (Easter Week) holidays are not proceeding as planned and that people should not travel to other parts of the country.
“A reminder, we are not in a vacation period … Now there are no holidays. We need all of us to stay at home as much as possible in order to reduce the transmission [of Covid-19]. We have not yet achieved it, the epidemic curve is still climbing,” he said.