Mexico will see high coronavirus case numbers until March, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell predicted Friday as the country recorded its highest daily case tally in over a week.
“In October what we predicted in March happened: [we said] that all northern hemisphere countries would have an upturn [in coronavirus cases in the colder months]. … It’s therefore predictable that we’ll have a new epidemic cycle until March 2021 during which our fundamental objective will be to continue to reduce deaths,” he said.
Mexico recorded almost 182,000 new coronavirus cases in October, the second highest monthly figure since the start of the pandemic. In November, the average daily number of cases reported in the first 20 days declined 14% to 5,050 compared to 5,853 in October, but the daily tally spiked to 6,426 on Friday, the highest number since Wednesday last week.
Speaking at the virtual forum “Experiences and Challenges in the Management of Covid-19 in Mexico and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean,” López-Gatell said the federal government will face various challenges in the near future to mitigate the spread of the virus.
However, he once again ruled out any possibility of the government using coercive measures to ensure compliance with coronavirus restrictions.
“Our principles of public ethics as well as our convictions with respect to how the country’s public life should be managed are based on strict respect for human rights,” the deputy minister said.
Mexico at no time enforced a strict lockdown and President López Obrador and López-Gatell late last month ruled out any possibility that the federal government will mandate the use of face masks.
López-Gatell said Friday that the course of the pandemic – Mexico has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus cases and over 100,000 Covid-19 deaths – would have been different if half the population didn’t live in poverty, a situation which made it impossible for millions of people to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus.
He also noted that Mexico has high levels of health problems such as obesity, diabetes and certain kinds of cancer, which make many people more vulnerable to serious Covid-19 illnesses and death. In addition, the deputy minister said that the medical response to the pandemic has been challenging because the government inherited a run-down health system with a shortage of personnel.
Later on Friday, the Health Ministry announced at its regular coronavirus press conference that Mexico’s accumulated coronavirus case tally had increased to 1,025,969, the 11th highest total in the world.
The official Covid-19 death toll rose to 100,823 with 719 additional fatalities registered. The daily death toll was the highest since September 1.
Health promotion chief Ricardo Cortés presented an updated coronavirus stoplight map, on which the most notable change was that Chiapas will become Mexico’s second green light “low” risk state as of Monday.
The southern state, estimated to have just 108 active cases, will be the second state to achieve green light status after Campeche, which switched to that color in late September and has seen no change to its risk level since.
Chihuahua and Durango will maintain their red light “maximum” risk status for a further two weeks, while six states – Coahuila, Nuevo León, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Querétaro and Mexico City – are at high risk of switching to that color from their current orange light “high” risk status, Cortés said.
Eight other states will retain their orange light status for a further two weeks. They are Baja California, Sonora, Guanajuato, Jalisco, México state, Guerrero, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosí.
As of Monday there will be 14 yellow light “medium” risk states. They are Nayarit, Michoacán, Quintana Roo, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Sinaloa, Baja California Sur, Yucatán and Colima.
The first 10 states listed are already yellow and will remain at that level for another two weeks, while the last four will switch to yellow from orange on Monday.
Each stoplight color is accompanied by recommended restrictions to slow the spread of the virus but some states have chosen to follow their own guidelines rather than those drawn up by federal authorities.
Source: Milenio (sp)