The World Health Organization (WHO) and federal Health Minister Jorge Alcocer have offered very different assessments of the coronavirus situation in Mexico.
The Mexico representative of the WHO said Tuesday that the country is currently going through “one of the most complex and dangerous moments of the epidemic.”
Cristian Morales told a virtual press conference that several states are advancing toward the peak of their local epidemics, some are already at the peak while others have begun to descend but “are still very close to the peak.”
For his part, WHO adviser Jean-Marc Gabastou stressed that Mexico is not in a situation in which social distancing restrictions can be abandoned.
“We have to maintain a healthy distance regardless of the color [denoting the coronavirus infection risk level] until a vaccine is available,” he said.
The officials also said that recent street protests could cause Covid-19 case numbers to spike and that more testing is needed before a wide-scale economic reopening.
“We have to immediately … detect any suspicious case in order to avoid a local spark becoming a fire,” Gabastou said.
Earlier on Tuesday, Alcocer told reporters at the presidential press conference that “the epidemic in our country is stable and going down, albeit slowly.”
However, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, the government’s coronavirus point man, said at the same press conference that Mexico has not yet reached the “maximum” point of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“For several more weeks, we will keep announcing there are more cases today than yesterday,” he said.
The Health Ministry reported on Tuesday night that the tally of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased to 124,301 with 4,199 new cases registered and that the death toll had risen to 14,649 with 596 additional fatalities.
It was the first time in three days that the number of Covid-19 deaths reported was above 500.
Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía said that an additional 1,478 deaths are suspected to have been caused by Covid-19 but have not yet been confirmed.
He said that 357,055 people have been tested for Covid-19 and that the results of 50,677 tests are not yet known. Of the total number of confirmed cases, 18,904 are considered active, Alomía said.
Mexico City has recorded more than 30,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic while neighboring México state has the second highest case tally in the country at almost 20,000.
Three states have registered more than 5,000 cases: Baja California with 6,297; Tabasco with 5,750; and Veracruz with 5,529.
At the other end of the scale, two states have recorded less than 500 cases since Covid-19 was first detected in Mexico at the end of February: Colima with 224; and Zacatecas with 403.
Mexico City also has the largest active outbreak in the country with 3,891 cases, followed by México state and Jalisco, where there are 2,274 and 1,2014 active cases, respectively.
Two states, Colima and Baja California Sur, have fewer than 50 active cases, while five others – Zacatecas, Durango, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí and Nayarit – have fewer than 100.
Mexico City has the highest Covid-19 death toll, with 3,941 fatalities, according to official data. However, an analysis of death certificates issued in the capital between March and May suggested that authorities have not reported a large number of coronavirus-related fatalities.
México state has the second highest death toll, with 1,651 confirmed Covid-19 fatalities, followed by Baja California, where 1,302 people have lost their lives to the disease.
National data presented by the Health Ministry Tuesday night showed that 46% of general care beds set aside for patients with serious respiratory symptoms are currently occupied while 38% of those with ventilators are in use.
However, hospitals in coronavirus hotspots, such as Mexico City and México state, are much closer to full capacity.