In a worst-case scenario, Covid-19 will claim the lives of more than 157,000 people in Mexico by January 1, according to new projections by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
The University of Washington-based institute modeled three scenarios for individual nations and the world as a whole.
The worst-case scenario assumes that face mask usage remains at current rates and that authorities continue easing social distancing requirements.
The best-case scenario assumes that mask usage is near universal and that authorities impose stricter coronavirus restrictions if the daily death toll exceeds eight per million inhabitants. In Mexico, eight deaths per million equates to about 1,000 fatalities, a figure that has only been exceeded on a single day twice.
Finally, a most likely scenario assumes that individual mask use and other mitigation measures remain unchanged in the final months of 2020.
The IHME predicts that Covid-19 deaths in Mexico will increase to 157,264 by January 1 in a worst-case scenario, 130,545 in a best-case scenario and 138,828 in the most likely scenario.
In the worst-case and most likely scenarios, Mexico’s official death toll – currently 66,329 – more than doubles over the next four months. In the best-case scenario, it increases 97% by January 1.
In the worst case, Mexico will rank sixth in the world for total Covid-19 deaths at the end of the year, the IHME predicts, whereas in the other two scenarios it will rank fourth.
In all three scenarios, the institute predicts that India will have recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths at the end of 2020 – it currently ranks third – and that the United States will rank second.
Globally, the IHME predicts 4 million total deaths by the end of the year in a worst-case scenario (the current death toll is about 870,000), 2 million in a best-case scenario and 2.8 million in a most likely scenario.
It said that there is likely to be a seasonal rise in Covid-19 cases in northern hemisphere countries in the late fall and winter months.
The IHME said that its projections are based on an epidemiological model that includes data on cases, deaths, and antibody prevalence, as well as location-specific Covid-19 testing rates, mobility, social distancing mandates, mask use, population density and age structure, and pneumonia seasonality.
The testing rate in Mexico is extremely low – fewer than 11,000 people per million inhabitants have been tested to date – meaning that data for both coronavirus cases and deaths is widely considered to be grossly inaccurate.
Some epidemiologists believe that Mexico’s real Covid-19 death toll could be three times higher than that reported, in which case total fatalities would have already exceeded the IHME’s worst-case scenario forecast.
Although new case numbers have declined in recent weeks, according to official data, health authorities are continuing to report more than 500 deaths on a daily basis.
The Health Ministry reported 513 additional fatalities on Thursday, lifting the official death toll to 66,329. The accumulated case tally rose to 616,894 with 5,937 new cases registered.
The Health Ministry estimates that there are 39,940 cases across the country while the results of 83,820 tests are not yet known.
The business magazine Forbes reported Thursday that, according to Mexico’s publicly available epidemiological oversight database, only 20% of Covid-19 patients who died were connected to a ventilator. That means that more than 50,000 patients who died were never intubated.
“Right now in Mexico thousands of Covid-19 patients are dying every week without access to the type of delicate intensive care that could have saved their lives,” Forbes said.
Mexico News Daily