The federal Health Ministry reported a new single-day record of 8,458 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday as well as 688 additional Covid-19 fatalities, lifting Mexico’s death toll above that of the United Kingdom.
Mexico’s accumulated case tally now stands at 424,637 five months after the new coronavirus was first detected here. Friday was the second time that more than 8,000 additional cases were reported on a single day after 8,438 were registered on July 23.
Just over 7% of the confirmed cases – 31,365 – are active while there are 90,022 suspected cases, meaning that the results of that number of tests are not yet known.
The Health Ministry reported a total of 198,548 coronavirus cases in July, a figure that accounts for 47% of Mexico’s accumulated case tally.
The official Covid-19 death toll rose to 46,688 on Friday, the third highest in the world after the United States and Brazil. Mexico has now recorded 484 more fatalities than the United Kingdom, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
However, Mexico’s fatality rate and mortality rate are lower than those of the U.K. Based on confirmed cases and deaths, Mexico’s fatality rate is 11 per 100 cases whereas that of the U.K. is 15.2.
But Mexico’s rate is well above the global rate of 3.9 as well as those of the United States and Brazil, where 3.4 and 3.5 people, respectively, have died per 100 confirmed coronavirus cases.
Mexico has recorded 37 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Johns Hopkins University data, giving it the 13th highest mortality rate in the world.
The 12 countries with higher mortality rates than Mexico are in descending order San Marino, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Spain, Peru, Italy, Sweden, Chile, the United States, France and Brazil.
The Health Ministry reported a total of 18,919 Covid-19 fatalities in July, which equates to 41% of Mexico’s death toll.
National data presented at Friday night’s coronavirus press briefing showed that 46% of general care hospital beds set aside for coronavirus patients are currently occupied while 38% of those with ventilators are in use.
Meanwhile, the federal government may have decided to get serious about the use of face masks.
All government officials who appeared at last night’s press conference in Puebla were wearing face masks for the first time since the Health Ministry began providing nightly updates on the situation more than 150 days ago.
Many health experts and others have been urging public figures such as political leaders and government officials to set an example for the rest of the population by wearing masks, although President López Obrador appears unlikely to heed the call, declaring Friday that he won’t wear one until the country is free of corruption.
Among the officials sporting the fashion item du jour at last night’s press conference was Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, who had been a less than enthusiastic advocate for masks before urging citizens to wear one this week.
The coronavirus czar once again called on citizens to use a mask in public places, stressing that it must cover a person’s mouth and nose to be effective. He also urged people to continue practicing other preventative measures, such as social distancing, to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Using a face mask doesn’t mean [we can] stop doing everything else,” López-Gatell said.
The deputy minister removed his mask to address the press conference at which he presented the government’s updated “stoplight” map, which denotes the risk of coronavirus infection in each of Mexico’s 32 states.
Exactly half of the state’s were allocated a “red light” indicating the maximum risk of infection while the other half were given an “orange light” indicating high risk.
The 16 “red light” states are Baja California Sur, Coahuila, Colima, Durango, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán and Zacatecas.
The “orange light” states are Aguascalientes, Baja California, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Mexico City, México state, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Morelos, Oaxaca, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Sonora and Tlaxcala.
Four states — Guanajuato, Querétaro, Oaxaca and Quintana Roo — were upgraded from red to orange, while Michoacán and Durango were downgraded from orange to red.
The stoplight colors, which are accompanied by recommended coronavirus restrictions, will be effective from August 3 to 16.
López-Gatell said that federal health authorities and state governments will next week review the methodology used to determine the stoplight color allocated to the states.
Several governors have spoken out against the “stoplight” system and some have chosen to ignore the federal advice, instead reopening their states’ economies according to their own criteria.
One of those is Yucatán, whose governor said Friday his state would remain at the orange level.