Mexico now has 14 red light maximum risk states on the coronavirus stoplight map after an additional four states switched this week amid rising case numbers.
Ten states – Mexico City, México state, Guanajuato, Morelos, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Jalisco, Querétaro, Hidalgo and Tlaxcala – were painted red on the stoplight map that was published by the federal Health Ministry on January 15 and took effect January 18.
This week, San Luis Potosí, Guerrero, Puebla and Nayarit all switched to red due to their worsening coronavirus situations.
Mexico hasn’t had so many maximum risk states since August when 16 states were red during the first half of that month. By mid-September there were no red states, a situation that was maintained until late October.
However, the situation began to worsen and 2020 ended with five states including Mexico City at the red light level. That number doubled to 10 two weeks ago as case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths rose in the wake of Christmas-New Year celebrations before increasing to 14 this week.
The Health Ministry is scheduled to publish an updated stoplight map on Friday night, meaning that it is not yet known whether all of the 14 states that are currently red will start next week at the same risk level.
One thing that is clear is that January has already surpassed December as the worst month of the pandemic in terms of both new coronavirus cases and Covid-19 deaths.
The Health Ministry reported 399,425 new cases in the first 28 days of January, an increase of 28% compared to December with numbers for three days of this month still to be reported. Mexico’s accumulated tally rose to 1.82 million on Thursday with 18,670 new cases reported.
The reported Covid-19 death toll in the first 28 days of the month was 29,338, a 48% increase compared to the entire month of December. The single-day death toll has regularly exceeded 1,000 this month, peaking on January 21 at 1,803.
An additional 1,506 deaths were registered Thursday, pushing the official death toll to 155,145. Mexico has now recorded the third highest number of deaths in the world behind the United States and Brazil, having passed India’s total on Thursday.
Nine states have an occupancy rate for general care hospital beds above 70%, according to federal data. They are Mexico City, 88%; México state, 84%, Hidalgo, 82%; Puebla, 81%; Guanajuato, 80%; Nuevo León, 79%; Morelos, 77%; Nayarit, 73%; and Guerrero, 71%.
Only about 40% of such beds and 52% of those with ventilators are occupied in San Luis Potosí but the state government nevertheless decreed a switch to maximum risk red on Monday, citing a recent increase in case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths. Hospitals in San Luis Potosí city have been under severe pressure in recent weeks.
Tighter economic restrictions, including reduced capacity for businesses and shorter operating hours, were implemented as a result of the red light designation. San Luis Potosí has recorded more than 49,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and 3,695 Covid-19 deaths.
Guerrero was the second state to turn red this week, switching to that color on Wednesday. Governor Héctor Astudillo said the southern state, where tighter economic restrictions will remain in place until at least February 14, is facing “the worst moment of the pandemic.”
The governors of Puebla and Nayarit both announced Thursday that they were switching to maximum risk red.
Miguel Barbosa of Puebla said the authorities were most concerned about the coronavirus situation in the state capital and surrounding areas.
“We had a day yesterday [Wednesday] that in terms of Covid was very serious and now … Puebla is red. … The center of infection continues to be the capital of the state, Puebla, and the outlying area,” he said.
More than 1,400 coronavirus patients are currently hospitalized, more than any other time in the pandemic.
The state has recorded more than 60,000 accumulated cases and almost 7,000 deaths. There are currently almost 4,000 active cases in Puebla, according to federal Health Ministry estimates.
Barbosa said that the tighter, red light economic restrictions should begin to yield results in the coming days.
“We’re sure that we’ll soon come out of the red [level],” the governor said before calling on citizens to show “solidarity” and follow the health rules.
Announcing that Nayarit was regressing to red, Governor Antonio Echevarría said the Pacific coast state has recorded about 1,750 new cases in January and more than 200 Covid-19 deaths.
“There are practically no hospital beds now, it’s increasingly difficult to find oxygen for patients and the funeral services can’t keep up with demand,” he said.
“The situation is serious and it could get worse. A lot of us could still die – thousands – if we don’t take … control of the war against the pandemic. … In Nayarit we’re now on the red stoplight, it’s necessary that we voluntarily take shelter again. Lives are at stake – to the extent that is possible, please stay at home.”
The governor said that all nonessential business in the state capital Tepic and in the coastal area of the neighboring municipality San Blas must close between Friday and Sunday and remain shut on weekends until the government says otherwise.
The capacity of public transit services in Nayarit has been cut to 50% and street markets known as tianguis can only operate at the same capacity level.
The governor’s announcement triggered a protest by business owners Thursday in Tepic, who blocked various traffic intersections and warned that the restrictions would spell bankruptcy for many.
Nayarit has recorded almost 10,000 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and 1,363 Covid-19 deaths. The federal Health Ministry estimates that there are currently 858 active cases in the state.
Source: Reforma (sp)