The Ministry of Health (SSa) reported this Friday, June 19, that the accumulated infections by COVID-19 are 170,485, adding 5,030 new cases today. Furthermore, since the beginning of COVID-19, Mexico has suffered 20,394 fatalities, with 647 deaths reported today.
Mexico only reports COVID-19 cases from the public healthcare system, cases in private hospitals and tests done in private laboratories are not reported, so the numbers reported each day are under-reported and inaccurate data that could be useful in making policy decisions to control the pandemic in Mexico.
Given the rampant number of infected in the country, the head of the Government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, reported this afternoon that the epidemiological traffic light, which governs, among other things, hospital occupation, will remain red, the highest warning for COVID-19 transmission.
According to Sheinbaum, the number of infected has not decreased at the rate that was predicted, so it is better to stay at the highest level of alert. The lack of testing and only looking at cases in the public healthcare system, and not private hospitals, likely plays a role in the government’s often missed predictions that has forced them to revise policy almost daily.
“Even though the number of people hospitalized has been decreasing, it has not decreased at a higher speed and it is preferable to stay in the current circumstances,” insisted the head of government. As for the percentage of hospital occupation for the orange traffic light to be applied, it would have to be below 65%. “There should be a continuous week of declining cases,” she explained.
On the other hand, Latin America could be considered the new center of the pandemic, after Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Chile occupy a place among the 15 countries with the highest number of confirmed active cases, according to the John Hopkins University.
There are several factors that could have brought the continent to this scenario, but the newspaper The Economist assured that Mexico’s decisions on quarantine and its “half-hearted strategy” to control the virus are clear examples of why.
They point out that the goal of the government led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador was not to stop the virus as quickly as possible, but to buy time to find extra beds, hire more doctors, buy ventilators, educate citizens about medical preventive protocols, as well as undertake investigations around SARS-CoV-2 and find a way out.
The strategy, they say, was unsuccessful because the measures were flexible, they never applied an authoritarian regime around the National Day of Sana Distancia and informal trade was allowed to continue working.
Criticism also falls on the traffic light system with different alert levels that allow or prohibit different activities throughout the country, according to the rates of contagion, deaths, and hospital occupation. The measure, they noted, seems more like a desperate move to open the economy as soon as possible, because when only one state rated it “orange,” the criteria were adjusted so that 15 other states also returned to the new normal.
The Economist indicated that the relaxation of the sanitary confinement and the reopening of the economy has already been attempted in other countries in Latin America such as Guatemala and Venezuela, where the cases increased after relaxing the measures. in Panama and Chile, they reactivated closures and sanitary measures because they “declaring victory too soon.”