The peak of Mexico’s coronavirus pandemic will occur this month, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
“We expect that the peak will occur now, in August,” PAHO assistant director Jarbas Barbosa told a virtual press conference.
He stressed that coronavirus mitigation measures will still be needed after the peak has passed in order to control the pandemic.
The measures implemented to date by Mexico’s government and those of other countries in the region helped to slow the spread of the coronavirus but failed to fully control transmission and bend the epidemic curve to a point at which “only isolated cases” are recorded, Barbosa said.
He recommended that social distancing measures be analyzed to determine how they can be made more effective and how they can better protect poor families and people who work in the informal economy.
PAHO director Carissa Etienne acknowledged at the same press conference that the pandemic is still growing in the Americas and that many countries are struggling to control it.
The Pan American Health Organization’s prediction that the pandemic will peak in Mexico this month comes after the federal Health Ministry made several failed forecasts about when new case numbers would reach their highest point.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, the government’s coronavirus czar, began saying in early May that the peak of the outbreak was imminent, although he has stressed that Mexico is not going through one sole pandemic but rather numerous local epidemics as a result of its large geographical size.
President López Obrador declared in late April that the coronavirus pandemic had been controlled by the containment measures put in place by health authorities.
But the forecast that the pandemic would peak in May and the president’s declaration that it had been “tamed” have both been proven wrong.
Just last week, the single-day record for case numbers reported by the federal Health Ministry was broken twice. Health authorities reported 8,458 additional cases last Friday but that record was broken the very next day with 9,556 cases registered.
New case numbers dropped below 5,000 on Sunday and Monday before rising to 6,148 on Tuesday. Mexico’s accumulated coronavirus case tally currently stands at 449,961, the sixth highest total in the world.
Since June 1, the commencement of the so-called “new normal” in which coronavirus restrictions apply on a state by state rather than national basis, the Health Ministry has reported 359,297 cases, or 80% of the total.
That data serves as further proof that Mexico didn’t pass the worst of the pandemic in May, as López-Gatell predicted it would.
In the same period, 38,939 Covid-19 fatalities were reported, a figure which accounts for 80% of Mexico’s current death toll of 48,869.
The Health Ministry reported 857 additional fatalities on Tuesday, the highest single-day number since July 21.
Mexico City leads the country for both confirmed coronavirus and deaths with 76,173 of the former and 9,114 of the latter. México state ranks second in both categories with 54,891 coronavirus cases and 6,629 Covid-19 deaths.
Mexico City also leads the country for active cases, with more than 5,700, according to Health Ministry estimates. México state has more than 4,000 active cases, Guanajuato has more than 3,000 and four states – Veracruz, Coahuila, San Luis Potosí and Nuevo León – have more than 2,000.
At the municipal level, Mérida, Yucatán, has the largest active outbreak followed by Centro (Villahermosa), Tabasco; León, Guanajuato; Puebla (the state capital); and Iztapalapa, Mexico City.
The other five municipalities in the top 10 for active case numbers are, in order: Piedras Negras, Coahuila; Monterrey, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí (the state capital); La Paz, Baja California Sur; and Tlalpan, Mexico City.
Mérida has 939 active cases, according to federal data, while 10th-ranked Tlalpan has 356.