Thursday, June 20, 2024

Covid roundup: Mexico City remains yellow, México state goes back to yellow

Mexico City will remain medium risk yellow on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight map for at least the next week, while neighboring México state will regress to yellow from low risk green.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced Friday that the capital will remain at the yellow light level between July 19 and 25. Mexico City switched to yellow from green on June 21 and has remained at that risk level since despite an increase in new cases.

Many of the new cases in Mexico City are among young people but the capital has also recorded an increase in infections among people in their 50s and 60s, government official Eduardo Clark said Friday.

He added that the infections were detected in people who are not vaccinated, explaining that about 15% of adults who have had the opportunity to get vaccinated chose not to get a shot. Deaths are still at “relatively low levels,” Clark said.

Sheinbaum said the vaccination process will be ramped up next week, with all Mexico City residents aged 30 and over eligible for a shot as of Tuesday.

“Go get vaccinated, … getting vaccinated is fundamental so you don’t get the disease,” she said.

The mayor said she wasn’t planning to implement any new restrictions. “We’re not aiming to reduce any activities: social, economic or cultural. … The goal is to vaccinate,” she said.

Meanwhile, there are almost 1,900 Covid-19 patients in the city’s hospitals, a rise of about 650 compared to a week ago. There are more than 2,500 hospitalized Covid patients in the broader metropolitan area. Federal data shows that just over half of general care beds set aside for Covid patients in Mexico City are taken while just under 40% of those with ventilators are in use.

Mexico City easily leads the country for coronavirus cases and Covid deaths with more than 720,000 of the former and almost 45,000 of the latter.

México state Governor Alfredo del Mazo announced that his state would regress to yellow on Monday after remaining green since June 7.

“We have to strengthen the preventative measures, let’s not drop our guard,” he wrote on Twitter.

México state, which includes many municipalities that are part of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, ranks second in the country for cases and deaths with about 270,000 infections and more than 28,000 fatalities.

In other Covid news:

• Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to 2.64 million on Friday with 12,420 new cases reported, the third day in a row on which new case numbers have exceeded 12,000. The official Covid-19 death toll increased to 236,015 with 275 additional fatalities. There are just over 82,000 active cases across the country, according to Health Ministry estimates. The highly infectious Delta strain is now circulating in many Mexican states and likely driving the high case numbers currently being recorded.

• More than 637,700 Covid-19 vaccination shots were administered on Thursday, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell announced on Twitter. He said 53.3 million doses have been administered since Mexico’s vaccine rollout began just before Christmas.

About 41% of Mexican adults have had at least one dose of a vaccine, according to Health Ministry data.

• Jessica Ann Olsen, a United States woman who lives in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur (BCS), launched a petition on that calls on Governor Carlos Mendoza Davis to make it compulsory for people entering the state to present a negative Covid-19 test result. The state has recently seen a steep rise in case numbers as the Delta variant of the virus takes hold.

Coronavirus cases and deaths in Mexico as reported by day
Coronavirus cases and deaths in Mexico as reported by day. milenio

The petition, which has a goal of attracting the support of 10,000 people, had  just over 9,200 signatures at 5:00 p.m. Friday.

“Enough already! The government has to act and protect our state with negative Covid tests to enter … BCS. Proof of vaccination is not enough as it doesn’t guarantee that we’re not going to get infected with the [new] strains and/or we could be carriers and a risk to vulnerable people,” says the petition, which appears doomed to failure.

Health Minister Víctor George Flores said the state doesn’t have the legal authority to require incoming travelers to show negative Covid test results, explaining that the decision is one for the federal government, which appears unlikely to set new travel restrictions.

• Two crematoriums in Los Cabos are overwhelmed with bodies of deceased Covid-19 patients, the newspaper Milenio reported. The crematoriums were inspected by Baja California Sur health officials after they received complaints about excessive black smoke from residents in the Ejidal and Arsenal neighborhoods in Cabo San Lucas.

“Corpses are lined up waiting to be cremated,” said health regulator chief Iván Núñez, adding that both inspected crematoriums were complying with regulations but were saturated with bodies.

• Mexicans spent US $325 million to travel to the United States to get vaccinated against Covid-19 between March and May, according to estimates by the Center of Research and Tourism Competitiveness at Mexico City’s Anáhuac University.

More than 900,000 Mexicans traveled to the U.S. in that period and the center’s director, Francisco Madrid, believes that a good number of them headed north to get vaccinated.  A comparatively slower vaccination rollout encouraged Mexicans of means to skip the queue here and travel to the U.S. to get a jab.

Florida, Nevada and California were among the most visited states by Mexicans who got vaccinated in the United States, where vaccines are widely available.

• The Pacific coast resort town of Puerto Escondido is facing a coronavirus outbreak that has left oxygen tanks in short supply. A growing number of people are seeking medical attention in public and private health care facilities, the newspaper El Imparcial reported. The majority of the cases are among young people, who are more likely not to be vaccinated.

El Imparcial also reported that 15 workers at the Puerto Escondido General Hospital, including medical personnel, have Covid-19, a situation that brought the hospital to “the brink of collapse.”

The health workers would have presumably been inoculated against Covid-19 at the start of Mexico’s vaccine rollout.

El Imparcial said that if coronavirus patients continue arriving at the general hospital at the current pace, the facility “will have to close its doors because there won’t be personnel in optimal health conditions” to attend to them.

• The Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca is also facing a large coronavirus outbreak that has left oxygen tanks in short supply. As demand has soared, so too have prices. A 10-liter tank with all the necessary accessories costs approximately 13,500 pesos (US $680) pesos in the Isthmus region but finding one for sale is not easy. Filling it costs about 1,300 pesos (US $65), up from approximately 1,000 pesos (US $50) a year ago.

“I sold my pickup truck so I could buy three [oxygen] tanks and medicine for three uncles, farm men, who got infected and died one after the other between June 1 and 3. Don’t go out, look after yourself,” one Isthmus region woman said.

With reports from Milenio, El Financiero, El Imparcial, El Universal and Reforma 

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