Coronavirus: Mexico adds more than 15,000 new cases of covid, its worst record in four months

Dozens of people are waiting for an antigen test to detect COVID-19.
Dozens of people are waiting for an antigen test to detect COVID-19.Galo Cañas / CUARTOSCURO

Mexico has registered the highest number of covid cases in the last four months. Health authorities have reported 15,184 coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, a jump that is five times the positives reported on Monday: 2,877. You have to go back to the first week of September to find a similar number of cases. The rebound of the pandemic is announced hours after the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, defended the management of the health crisis in the face of the advance of the omicron variant through Mexican territory. “We have to wait, I would not say that there is a fourth wave because there are no hospitalizations,” said the president in his press conference on Tuesday.

The latest data cut on the advance of the virus already accounts for more than four million confirmed cases of covid since the start of the pandemic, although the authorities had already warned for weeks that that threshold had been broken in their estimates. Mexico has registered 130 deaths in the last day and is close to 300,000 confirmed deaths since the start of the pandemic. However, projections on deaths from various specialists and government agencies, such as Inegi, which consider excess mortality range between 520,000 and 713,000 deaths since the onset of the pandemic in early 2020.

The uncertainty over the impact of omicron, a version much more contagious than the previous ones and which is expected to become the predominant variant in the country in a matter of weeks, led more than a dozen states to postpone the return to face-to-face classes January 3. The Ministry of Public Education insisted that the return to schools has not resulted in an increase in infections and announced that it was about to start with the reinforcement vaccination of teachers to launch a message of tranquility. The official announcement came on Tuesday and the López Obrador government indicated that 2.7 million Moderna vaccines donated by the United States will be used to immunize teaching personnel.

“Infections from this new variant are increasing, but fortunately there is no increase in hospitalizations and, most importantly, there are no deaths,” said the Secretary of Health, Jorge Alcocer. The authorities recognized that there has been a slight increase in hospital admissions in the capital, although with a margin of maneuver far from saturation.

In Mexico City there have been long lines for rapid tests, the demand for which has increased considerably after the Christmas and New Year celebrations. “I have been with symptoms for several days, but yesterday in a clinic of the Mexican Social Security Institute I was trained for more than eight hours and I could not get the test done,” says Soledad Ramos, 54, outside a center health of the capital.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mexico has chosen to carry out few tests and has not closely tracked infections or asymptomatic cases, with the exception of the capital, the most densely populated area, which does more tests and that concentrates around one of every four cases that have been registered throughout the epidemic. However, on the GISAID platform, 374 omicron sequences have already been shared in Mexico and it is already the Latin American country that has the most samples of the new variant, in what experts consider a sample button of its expansion.

Tourist areas, bordering the United States and more densely populated, such as the central states of the country, agglomerate the highest rate of infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Specialists point out that it is an indication of how the omicron is going to move in the first weeks of the year. The authorities trust that vaccination and the characteristics of the new virus, which tends to produce milder symptoms, will prevent hospitalizations and deaths from spiking, although in official discourse it has become more recurrent that it is admitted that the contagions, as has been seen in other parts of the world. Globally, more than 1.3 million infections and 7,605 deaths have been registered in the last 24 hours.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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