Mexican government downplays the third wave of COVID-19 as hospitals reach capacity

The third wave of covid-19 is already a harsh reality in Mexican hospitals, some of which suffer from 100% occupancy, while the Government downplays it and trusts that vaccines will curb the mortality of the pandemic.

“We are not feeling it, no. We are experiencing the third wave. Hospitals are full and no one says anything,” a nurse who treats coronavirus patients in Mexico City told EFE News on Friday.

Mexico registered 19,223 new infections of covid-19 in the last day, figures that were not seen since the peak of the second wave in January, and accumulates 2.8 million infections and 240,000 confirmed deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, the fourth-highest figure in the world.

Hospitals feeling the COVID-19 crush again

The rebound in COVID-19 cases began in May in tourist areas and has spread throughout the country, where hospitals are filling up again and the incessant arrival of ambulances is repeated.

“We have stopped admissions to the hospital because we no longer have a single bed,” added the nurse.

A month ago, only 14% of general care beds and 17% of intensive care beds were occupied, but now the national occupancy is 44% and 38%, respectively.

Of the 32 states in the country, Nayarit, Colima, Mexico City, and Durango are on red alert for occupations greater than 70%, and another nine are on yellow alert for exceeding 50%.

Diego Ramírez nervously prowls around the Venados Hospital in the Mexican capital, waiting to be allowed to make a video call with his wife, Felipa, who has been admitted for a week.

“The covid was already very serious. She has asthma, breathing problems, and lacks oxygenation. Our situation is a little complicated”, he explained sadly.

His 57-year-old wife was infected even though she “took great care of herself” and is now “very delicate .”

“We’re going to get out of this,” is the last thing Diego said to his wife before she was admitted into the hospital.

No new restrictions

Despite the strong rebound in infections, driven by the delta variant of the coronavirus, the Mexican Government has completely ruled out applying restrictions since it fully trusts that the effect of the vaccination will avoid the scenes of saturated hospitals and cemeteries that were seen in the previous waves.

The health authorities calculate that thanks to the vaccination of the elderly, the mortality of this wave is 77% lower than that of the first peak of July 2020 and 87% of the second peak of last January.

That would explain the low death rate in the past 24-hours of 381 deaths, far from the figures of January when there were more than 1,500 deaths a day.

“Now there are infections, but this is very important, fewer deaths because older people are already vaccinated, it is proven that if you have the vaccine you protect yourself. This new wave of infections in the country had a lot to do with vacations and with young people,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said this Friday at his morning press conference from Sinaloa.

The Government’s vision is fully shared by the Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, who said this week that “the closure of economic activities is no longer an option” and that “what we must do is apply vaccination more quickly and learn to take care of ourselves”.

Mexico is still far from obtaining any meaningful herd immunity through vaccinations.

Since last December, 25.2 of the 126 million inhabitants of the country have completed the vaccination schedule, that is, 20% of the population. In addition to the people who have only received one dose, only 35% of the inhabitants have some type of immunity.

The one who did not receive the second dose of the vaccine was Claudia Padilla’s sister, hospitalized and intubated in very serious condition at the General Hospital of Mexico.

Like other people, Claudia spends the night in front of the bars of the medical center, which the relatives cannot enter due to the risk of contagion, waiting for them to give her information about her sister.

“Her chest hurt, she had a lot of coughing, her body hurt, she had diarrhea,” she said sitting on a stool that she brought to pass the hours in front of the hospital.

In this hospital, they took time to find a free bed for Claudia’s sister and during the night they had to reject people who arrived in serious condition due to lack of space.

“I think we lowered our guard,” reflected this woman, who asked to be more “aware and empathetic” and support the sick because “it is not a disease that one wants to acquire.”

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