The peak of the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico could occur in July, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Health Ministry’s nightly coronavirus press briefing, López-Gatell said that if the epidemic curves of all 32 states come together as if they are one, the greatest transmission of the coronavirus will occur in the first two weeks of July.
He also said that if no social distancing measures had been implemented, Mexico would have had a “mega-curve” but the pandemic would have only lasted 10 to 12 weeks.
Exactly 15 weeks have now passed since López-Gatell announced the first two cases of Covid-19 in Mexico at a press conference on February 28 and it’s 12 weeks since the first death from the disease was reported.
Now, 133,974 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed despite low testing rates and 15,944 people have lost their lives to the disease, according to official data.
López-Gatell said that the pandemic could last until October, a month in which the flu season is expected to begin. However, the deputy minister said in late May that with the arrival of influenza, it’s “probable” that Covid-19 cases will make a comeback.
The Health Ministry reported 4,790 new cases on Thursday, the second highest single-day increase after the 4,883 cases registered a day earlier.
It also reported 587 additional Covid-19 fatalities, lifting the death toll to almost 16,000 a day after it passed 15,000. More than 500 coronavirus-related fatalities have now been reported on seven separate days but the Health Ministry has explained that not all the deaths reported on any given day occurred in the preceding 24 hours.
Delays in confirming suspected Covid-19 deaths means that some fatalities found to have been caused by the disease are not registered and reported by federal health authorities until weeks after they occurred.
In addition to the almost 16,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, 1,490 fatalities are currently in the “suspected” category.
Based on confirmed cases and deaths, Mexico’s fatality rate is 11.9 per 100 cases, more than double the global rate of 5.6.
Of the almost 134,00 confirmed cases, 20,832 are considered active, meaning that number of people tested positive after developing Covid-19 symptoms in the past 14 days.
Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía said that there are also 55,700 suspected cases across the country and that 381,139 people have now been tested.
Fewer than 2,900 people per 1 million citizens have been tested in Mexico, according to data published by the German statistics portal Statista, a rate 33 times lower than Spain’s, 24 times lower than that of the United States and more than two times lower than the current testing rate in Brazil.
López-Gatell said in late May that federal authorities are not interested in testing Mexicans en masse for Covid-19 because doing so would be “useless, impracticable and very expensive.”
But Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, in a clear break with federal health policy, said this week that her government will aim to test 100,000 people per month starting in July in order to detect and isolate new cases as quickly as possible.
Mexico City is the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, having recorded more than 34,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Just over 4,000 of those cases are currently active.
México state has the second largest active outbreak, with 2,861 cases, while three states – Jalisco, Tabasco and Guanajuato – have more than 1,000 active cases.
Mexico City also has the highest coronavirus death toll, with 4,266 confirmed fatalities as of Thursday. México state is next, with 1,813 deaths, followed by Baja California, Veracruz and Sinaloa, where 1,418, 911 and 835 people, respectively, have lost their lives to Covid-19.