Coronavirus: Mexico registers almost 26,000 cases of covid and is approaching the historical maximum of infections

A doctor covers a covid patient with a blanket, this Thursday in Monterrey.
A doctor covers a covid patient with a blanket, this Thursday in Monterrey.DANIEL BECERRIL (REUTERS)

The omicron advance puts Mexico close to its historical maximum of coronavirus infections. The country has added 25,851 new cases of covid in the last 24 hours, to about 3,100 cases of the peak that was registered at the end of August. In the largest rise since the third wave of infections last summer, the accumulated positives of this week are already double those of the seven days of the previous one. Deaths, however, have not increased significantly, with 128 deaths on this day.

The Ministry of Health delayed, without giving explanations, for about two hours the publication of the data for this Thursday. The Government limited itself to sharing a presentation after six in the afternoon with mortality data, estimated infections since the beginning of the pandemic and active cases. The document excluded the number of confirmed cases, the parameter that most of the media has used to document the impact of the new variant. The authorities have gradually modified the way they present the information and almost two years after the outbreak of the health crisis, the daily progress in infections is no longer explicitly reported. Other data remains opaque. Although the booster vaccination was started several weeks ago, the specific progress that has been made has yet to be reported. The Government announces 90% vaccination coverage, although according to international counts only around six out of every ten inhabitants have received the complete scheme.

Health authorities have confirmed 299,933 deaths from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic and if the trend in deaths continues, it is expected to exceed the threshold of 300,000 deaths this Friday or the weekend. There is, however, an under-registration recognized by the Government itself. Other organizations, such as the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, already estimate that mortality exceeds 520,000 deaths, although some specialists such as the mathematician Raúl Rojas project more than 700,000. Despite the differences in the official statistics board, the Government’s count places the country as the fifth in the world with the most deaths in absolute terms.

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The latest information cut indicates that almost 104,000 Mexicans are sick with covid. It is practically three times as many infected people as there were on Thursday of last week. Mexico City and the tourist states of Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo are consolidated as the most affected regions during this outbreak of infections, with the highest rates of cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The capital, where it has already been recognized that omicron is in the community transmission phase, has more than 26,800 active cases, one in four nationwide. The South Californian governor, Víctor Castro, has announced that he and his wife contracted the virus, although he clarified that he is stable and that he will attend to the affairs of his Administration from home. San Luis Potosí has ​​also come on alert by becoming the fourth most affected State and beat its record of infections in the State, reaching 585 positives in the last 24 hours.

General hospitalizations rose to 19% occupancy, although beds with ventilators have remained at 12%, unchanged from the previous day. The wide margin that still exists before reaching hospital saturation is one of the recurring arguments of the authorities to call for calm and to avoid referring to a fourth wave of infections in official communications. The country has offered contrasting images throughout this week: lines from early morning for free covid tests and, at the same time, streets full of gifts for Three Kings Day.

In some States, measures have been strengthened in the face of the new wave of infections. Colima will begin to reduce the capacity in shops and will ask for express authorizations to celebrate “risk activities” such as massive events, sports, cultural and religious festivals. “The virus is putting us to the test again,” said the governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, who has brought the meeting to define new actions until next Monday. The increase in infections has even reached Liga MX, which has postponed two games from the first date of the tournament after detecting at least 39 cases among footballers at the latest. One more match of the second date has also been postponed. All teams have vaccinated their players with a complete scheme, but only two have given them booster doses – the so-called boosters– said this week the president of the league, Mikel Arriola.

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Faced with the drop in temperatures, the increase in respiratory diseases and the circulation of omicron and delta, Mexico is experiencing one of the most complicated rallies in months. “The new variant is affecting a lot,” said President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Wednesday. “You have to take care of yourself,” he added, although the suspension of the economic reactivation is ruled out for now, as well as any substantive adjustments to the strategy that has been followed. In the last 24 hours, the world exceeded 2.3 million infections from the hand of omicron, a figure that had not been reached since the start of the pandemic.

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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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