With more than 77,000 confirmed Covid-19 fatalities, Mexico has the fourth highest pandemic death toll in the world after the United States, Brazil and India.
But in mortality rate (deaths per capita) rankings, Mexico fares somewhat better: it is No. 10, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University or No. 12 if the micro-states of San Marino and Andorra are included on the list.
Data shows that San Marino and Andorra rank first and fifth for Covid-19 deaths per capita but the tiny European states have only recorded 42 and 53 fatalities, respectively.
Among larger countries, Peru has the highest mortality rate with 101.3 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants. Belgium and Bolivia follow with rates of 87.7 and 70.2 respectively.
Six other countries have higher mortality rates than Mexico. They are Brazil, Spain, Chile, Ecuador, the United Kingdom and the United States. Those countries have recorded between 63 and 69 Covid-19 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, according to official data.
Based on the official death toll of 77,646, Mexico’s rate is currently 61.5 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants.
With regard to case fatality rate, Mexico ranks third among 168 countries listed by Johns Hopkins University.
With 743,216 confirmed coronavirus cases and 77,646 Covid-19 deaths as of Wednesday, Mexico’s fatality rate is currently 10.4 per 100 cases.
Only Yemen, which has a fatality rate of 28.9, and Italy, with a rate of 11.4, have recorded more deaths among people confirmed to have Covid-19.
Mexican authorities have blamed the high fatality rate here on the prevalence of diet-related chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity, but Mexico’s lower testing rates would also have an effect.
With regard to confirmed coronavirus cases, Mexico ranks ninth for sheer numbers behind the United States, India, Brazil, Russia, Colombia, Peru, Spain and Argentina.
As for testing, Mexico has the 29th lowest rate among 31 counties included in a graph published by the German statistics portal Statista.
Only 15,102 people per 1 million inhabitants have been tested for Covid-19 in Mexico, the government having focused on testing people with serious coronavirus-like symptoms, meaning that many mild and asymptomatic cases have gone undetected.
Mexico’s Covid-19 death toll is also widely believed to be much higher than official statistics indicate, mainly due to the low testing rate.
Six former federal health ministers called on the government to ramp up testing in a document published last month that set out a new national strategy to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Salomón Chertorivski, one of the ex-ministers, said in an interview Wednesday that it was regrettable that the government hasn’t provided a formal response, although Hugo López-Gatell – who has described widespread testing as “useless, impracticable and very expensive” – publicly mocked and criticized it.
“We haven’t had a response from the government. … We fulfilled … our responsibility to continue contributing to the public debate. In any democracy, in the spirit of plurality, [the contribution] should be well-received but in effect we haven’t been heard,” Chertorivski said.
He said the document he and the other former health ministers penned is not of a political nature but rather contains a “serious analysis” of the situation Mexico faces and a strategy to control the pandemic.
“[It’s] a document that speaks of facts, of evidence, there are no adjectives. [It contains] a serious analysis and timely recommendations. Anyone who reads them will realize that the recommendations [widespread testing, mandatory use of face masks, localized lockdowns] are obvious,” Chertorivski said.
Countries that have had success in controlling their coronavirus outbreaks have implemented them and the World Health Organization promotes them but in Mexico “we’ve decided to ignore them,” he said.
Chertorivski, health minister in the final year of the 2006-12 government led by Felipe Calderón, noted that the government’s “catastrophic scenario” – 60,000 Covid-19 deaths – became a reality more than a month ago and asserted that the strategy to manage the pandemic must change.
“The catastrophic scenario came true long ago. … We’re approaching 80,000 official deaths, there could be more because we know about the excess death [reports]. Unfortunately, we could be talking about 240,000 direct and indirect deaths,” he said.
“This should make us move in a different way.”