Health authorities have chosen not to designate Mexico City at the highest risk level on the coronavirus stoplight system, even though hospital occupancy is now approaching the peak numbers recorded in May.
Instead, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum issued an emergency call on Friday, making an impassioned plea that residents follow measures to combat the spread of the virus.
She said in a video message there were 4,454 hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, which is just 119 shy of the 4,573 beds occupied on May 20, the highest number recorded during the pandemic.
The figure represents a 74% occupancy rate, well above the 65% threshold at which the city would be declared red on the coronavirus stoplight map.
Sheinbaum dismissed the importance of the stoplight, insisting that what was important was to alert the public that without “collaboration and co-responsibility” it would be difficult to slow the virus’s spread.
She said an acceleration in hospitalizations and new cases was principally due to an increase in the number of fiestas and family gatherings at which safe distance measures are ignored and face masks are taken off.
The mayor repeated the five measures which the government has called on citizens to observe:
- Stay at home. If you don’t have to go out, don’t.
- If you must go out, use a face mask and maintain a safe distance from others.
- Don’t go to fiestas, posadas or gatherings of friends and family.
- As much as possible, shopping should be carried by only one person.
- And if tested positive for Covid-19 isolate for 15 days and seek medical attention.
Speaking at Friday night’s coronavirus press briefing, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell reiterated Sheinbaum’s message, saying it was “extremely urgent” that citizens follow the recommended measures to slow the rate of contagion.
He too dismissed the importance of the city’s color on the stoplight map. At a certain point, he said, “it’s not significant. [There’s an] alert for Covid-19, an emergency for Covid-19. Is there any doubt?”
He also implored media outlets to help get the message across.
“Let’s work together. Please, let’s work together.”
The federal government’s coronavirus point man began the press briefing by announcing that Cofepris, the federal health regulator, had given emergency approval for the vaccine developed by the U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
Mexico has already agreed to purchase the vaccine, the first shipments of which are expected this month and will be administered by following a multi-stage national vaccination plan.
Also on Friday, López-Gatell said there were 12,253 new coronavirus cases registered, the highest number yet in a single day. It brings the total of reported cases to 1,229,379.
There were 693 deaths, bringing that total to 113,019 since the pandemic began.
Mexico News Daily