Saturday, March 2, 2024

COVID roundup: Some states drop mask mandates as fourth wave eases

All but one state is low risk green on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight map, but Mexico is still recording hundreds of COVID-19 deaths most days.

The federal Health Ministry reported 244 additional fatalities on Wednesday and 260 on Tuesday. A total of 3,470 COVID-19 deaths were reported in the first 16 days of March for a daily average of 217.

Mexico’s official death toll rose to 321,619 on Wednesday, while the accumulated case tally increased to almost 5.62 million with 5,910 new cases reported.

There are currently just under 17,300 estimated active cases, a small fraction of the more than 300,000 at the peak of the omicron-fueled fourth wave earlier this year.

The easing of the fourth wave has led authorities in Coahuila and Nuevo León to drop mask mandates for outdoor public spaces, while Tabasco Governor Carlos Merino said his government is considering that possibility. An announcement will be made soon, Merino said.

Meanwhile, President López Obrador has ordered his health cabinet to analyze whether the ongoing use of masks is required, according to Ruy López Riadura, director of the Health Ministry’s National Center for Disease Prevention and Control Programs.

“The president tasked us with the face mask matter,” he said Wednesday, adding that a statement will be released to advise the public of the decision health officials take.

In Jalisco, authorities have decided not to drop their mask mandate despite the improved coronavirus situation in the state, where there are currently fewer than 500 active cases.

The Jalisco Health Ministry said Wednesday that masks are still required in outdoor and indoor spaces, but as of Thursday there are no capacity limits for events and businesses, and the requirement to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate to enter certain establishments is no longer in place.

“[It took] two years of pandemic to reach this moment: starting tomorrow [Thursday], all economic activities in Jalisco will return at 100% capacity, but with your face mask properly in place,” tweeted Governor Enrique Alfaro.

With reports from Milenio

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