The coronavirus pandemic continues to grow but the speed at which new infections and deaths are occurring is slowing, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said on Sunday.
Speaking at the Health Ministry’s nightly coronavirus press briefing, López-Gatell highlighted that the increase in case numbers in percentage terms from one day to the next is much lower now than during March, the first month of the pandemic.
He made the same point last week while acknowledging that the percentage increases are in comparison with an increasingly higher number of total cases.
López-Gatell also presented graphs from the University of Oxford website Our World in Data to support his claim that the pandemic in Mexico is stabilizing and has not grown as quickly as in some other countries.
He highlighted that Spain reached a point in its pandemic at which more than 170 new confirmed Covid-19 cases per million inhabitants were reported on a single day.
Brazil has recorded more than 160 new cases daily per million people, the United States has detected more than 100 cases per million and the pandemic in Italy peaked at almost 90.
In contrast, Mexico thus far has reached a peak of just over 40 new confirmed cases per million inhabitants per day.
Referring to Mexico’s epidemic curve, López-Gatell said that “we’re starting to see a much slower rise” than in earlier phases of the coronavirus outbreak.
He stressed that the inclination of Mexico’s curve is not as steep as the other countries shown in the graph, which also included the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
“This is another one of the signs … of the famous flattening of the curve,” López-Gatell said, claiming that the coronavirus mitigation measures put in place by the government achieved their goal and avoided the health system being overwhelmed.
The deputy minister also emphasized that no country in the world knows exactly how many Covid-19 cases it has. Therefore, Mexico’s comparatively low number of daily cases cannot be attributed solely to a low testing rate.
López-Gatell also presented a graph showing that Mexico’s number of cumulative confirmed Covid-19 deaths per million people is lower than that of the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy and Brazil. Only Germany has a lower per-capita death rate than Mexico among the eight countries included in the graph.
López-Gatell said the rate at which deaths are occurring in Mexico is slower than that of all the other countries bar Germany.
He highlighted that many of the Covid-19 fatalities in Mexico are related to diabetes, hypertension, obesity and other chronic diseases. The population of Mexico is more affected by those illnesses at a higher rate than the populations of almost every other country in the world, he said.
López-Gatell’s assertion that the pace of growth of the pandemic is slowing is also supported by recent data for the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, Mexico’s coronavirus epicenter.
Health Ministry data shows that the number of new cases detected between June 15 and 21 in the 16 Mexico City boroughs and 59 México state municipalities that are part of the Valley of México metropolitan area was 12.3% lower than in the previous week.
A total of 7,154 cases were detected between June 15 and 21 compared to 8,162 during the week before. It was the second consecutive week that case numbers declined in the Valley of México after a 7.2% drop between June 8 and 14.
The 7.2% decrease was the first weekly drop in case numbers since Covid-19 was first detected in Mexico at the end of February.
At the national level, the number of cases reported on Saturday and Sunday declined in comparison with previous days, although López-Gatell acknowledged that the Health Ministry usually registers fewer cases over the weekend.
He said that 4,050 additional cases were registered on Sunday, increasing Mexico’s cumulative case tally to 216,852.
Mexico’s Covid-19 death toll increased by 267 – the smallest daily spike since June 7 – to 26,648.
López-Gatell said that an additional 2,004 fatalities are suspected to have been caused by Covid-19 but have not yet been confirmed.
Of the total number of confirmed cases, 25,558, or about 12%, are considered active.
Mexico City currently has the highest number of active cases in the country, with 3,838, followed by México state and Puebla, where 2,513 and 1,826 people, respectively, tested positive for Covid-19 after developing symptoms in the past 14 days.
Six other states have more than 1,000 active cases. They are Guanajuato, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Yucatán and Jalisco.
Eighteen states including Mexico City are starting this week with an orange light on the Health Ministry’s stoplight map to assess the risk of coronavirus infection, while the other 14 states currently have a red light.
An orange light denotes a high risk of coronavirus infection while a red light is indicative of the maximum risk of contagion.