Saturday, March 2, 2024

COVID’s fourth wave is receding; signs indicate the peak has passed

The fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic is on the wane, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday.

“We started the week with a reduction [in case numbers]. Estimated cases in the fifth week of the year, which is the one we’re in now, dropped 31%,” he told President López Obrador’s regular news conference.

The decline is consistent with several other signs of a receding fourth wave, he said, citing reductions in hospital occupancy levels in most states, lower absenteeism rates among workers and a falling COVID-19 positivity rate.

“There are various signs that show us that we’ve reached and passed the peak of this fourth wave of COVID-19 in Mexico, dominated by the omicron variant,” López-Gatell said.

“We’re now in the descent phase. What’s expected is that this descent phase will be maintained in the following weeks, possibly at a pace similar to the ascent. … As always [we’ll be] monitoring any change in the trend in order to report it in a timely manner if that is the case,” he said.

The estimated active case count stood at 230,308 after the Health Ministry reported 12,521 new infections on Monday. It was frequently above 300,000 in January.

Mexico’s accumulated case tally is 4.94 million while the official COVID-19 death toll is 306,091.

López-Gatell said that hospitalization rates were falling in 25 of 32 states. He presented data that showed that 47% of general care beds and 29% of those with ventilators are currently occupied.

The deputy minister acknowledged that COVID-related deaths are currently trending upwards, although fatalities during the fourth wave are far lower than in previous waves.

He stressed that most people who have been hospitalized or died during the current wave were not vaccinated or only got one shot of a two-dose vaccine.

More than 80% of Mexican adults are fully vaccinated and the federal government is currently administering booster shots to people aged 40 and over.

With reports from Milenio

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