With record levels of infection and between 4,000 and 6,000 new cases of the coronavirus being reported each day, some experts warn that if Mexico doesn’t change its strategy, infection rates will continue to spike.
They cite premature easing of coronavirus restrictions, low testing rates and people refusing to follow health protocols as reasons for the upward trend and are asking authorities to go on the offensive against the pandemic.
Given that Mexico City, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak with 3,842 active cases, will advance from a “red light” maximum risk level to an “orange light” high-risk level next week, experts don’t see the coronavirus curve flattening anytime soon.
“Mexico City is moving to an orange light and these are not the right conditions. The transmission has been more intense in recent weeks and if people go out in the street there will be more infections,” said Malaquías López Cervantes, a public health professor at the National Autonomous University (UNAM) and spokesperson for the university’s Covid-19 committee.
“People are exhausted by confinement and social distancing and staying home is no longer on their minds. By relaxing mitigation measures it is normal that infections continue and if we keep on like this there will be no way to flatten the curve,” López said.
Researcher and epidemiologist Alejandro Macías concurs.
Mexico has already exceeded 208,000 confirmed cases and 25,000 deaths, and Macías argues that people should not accept these numbers as part of the “new normal,” as there is nothing normal about such a high rate of contagion when it could be prevented.
In a video Macías published to social media, the doctor, who in 2009 was Mexico’s special commissioner for influenza care, advocated for increased testing and the use of face masks.
“In Mexico, cases of the new coronavirus continue to increase and deaths accumulate in large numbers every day. We are already getting used to that normality; we should not get used to it. It is not normal. This virus should not take so many people,” Macías said.
“We need to do go on the offensive, we need to do more testing, we have to do more testing. We also need to normalize the use of masks for everyone, right on up to the president of the republic. That will help us reduce the risk,” said López.
As of next Monday, 18 states in Mexico will have dropped to an orange, or high-risk level, whereas three states, Colima, Nuevo León and Hidalgo, will re-implement restrictions as they move back to red.