Coronavirus
Pedrestrians in Mexico City. Mexico City has the highest per capita rate of active cases in the country.

Walmart offers COVID test kits; 5th wave now bigger than the first two

The current swell of cases could surpass the 3rd and 4th waves as well

More coronavirus cases have been recorded during the current fifth wave of the pandemic than during the first or second wave, according to official data analyzed by the Milenio newspaper.

Citing Health Ministry numbers, Milenio reported that 475,293 cases were recorded between May 31 and July 12. An additional 36,334 cases were reported Wednesday, pushing the fifth wave tally above half a million. Milenio used the end of May as the starting point for the fifth wave, although some experts said that it actually started at the beginning of that month.

Without citing specific dates, the newspaper said that 425,981 cases were reported during the first wave in the spring and summer of 2020, and that 463,702 were registered in the second wave in the winter of 2020-21.

The omicron-fueled fourth in late 2021 and early 2022 wave was Mexico’s biggest with over 721,000 cases, according to Milenio‘s report, while last year’s delta-fueled third wave ranks a close second with more than 720,000. Fifth wave infections – many of which are caused by highly contagious omicron sub-variants – could yet exceed those numbers as it is yet to peak.

Students in Colima listen to a nurses instructions as they get ready to receive a COVID vaccine.
Students in Colima listen to a nurses instructions as they get ready to receive a COVID vaccine.

Mauricio Rodríguez, spokesman for the National Autonomous University coronavirus commission, recently predicted that the wave would peak in late July or early August with some 70,000 cases per day. Wednesday’s tally of over 36,000 cases was the highest of the current wave.

About 60% of Mexico’s fifth wave cases were detected this month, with 304,389 reported in the first 13 days of July for a daily average of 23,414.

While case numbers during this wave have now exceeded those of the first two, COVID-19 deaths are much lower. Just over 1,400 have been reported since May 30, compared to tens of thousands in previous waves.

Mexico’s accumulated case tally currently stands at just under 6.34 million, of which over 220,000 are considered active, while the official COVID death toll is 326,261 after a fifth wave-high of 92 fatalities was reported Wednesday.

Walmart now sells antigen nasal tests, available in their stores, online and in Bodega Aurrerá.
Walmart now sells antigen nasal tests, available in their stores, online and in Bodega Aurrerá.

Mexico City has the highest number of active cases on a per capita basis with over 600 per 100,000 people, followed by Colima and Baja California Sur, each of which has close to 400. Health authorities in Baja California Sur reported that the BA.4 omicron sub-variant has been detected in that state, and attributed the recent rise in case numbers to the strain.

Health official Alfredo Ojeda García said that the BA.5 sub-variant hasn’t been detected but it’s only a matter of time before it begins circulating in the state.

Meanwhile, Walmart announced that it is now selling the COVID-19 rapid antigen nasal test made by Roche, a Swiss healthcare company. Walmart, Mexico’s largest supermarket chain, said in a statement that the tests have been approved by Mexican health authorities. A box containing five tests costs 990 pesos (US $47.50). They are available at Walmart and Bodega Aurrerá supermarkets, and on the Walmart website.

With reports from Milenio, El Universal and El Financiero

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