Health authorities in Mexico estimate that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause between 6,000 to 8,000 deaths, according to the undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell.
In an interview, the head of the fight against the pandemic in Mexico explained that in most countries, between 50 and 80 percent of intensive care patients with COVID-19 have died.
Following this pattern, and calculating that in Mexico, 10,000 people will end up in intensive care, “we would be talking about 6,000 people, 7,000 or 8,000 people who could lose their lives,” said López.
Mexico currently registers more than 11,600 cases and 1,069 deaths, and the maximum peak of infections is expected to take place between May 8 and 10. This Tuesday, the country declared the maximum contagion phase (phase 3) and extended the measures of social distancing until May 30.
At the peak of infections, the number of daily cases would double, reaching thousands of new cases every 24 hours, López-Gatell explained. The doctor in Epidemiology recalled that among the official forecasts there are an estimated 250,000 infected people without presenting symptoms of the disease.
Half of these people – some 125,000 – would go to medical attention and around 10,500 would require intensive therapy.
“These are figures that we maintain as a reference to guarantee the necessary resources to attend to,” he said, although there is a margin and therefore work is being done to have up to 16,000 beds.
He added that in some parts of the country a point of “saturation” is being reached, such as in Mexico City and Tijuana, but he was confident that the existing hospital reconversion process will allow for these 16,000 intensive care beds, which include in addition to the bed a ventilator, monitor and medical personnel.
“At this time we have practically reached this capacity by virtue of an agreement (with private hospitals), hospital reconversion, and the incorporation of military plans to support the civilian population, which gives us the capacity of these 16,000 beds”, he said.
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Since the beginning of April, economic activities considered non-essential has been paralyzed in Mexico, while the Government urges the population to stay at home, although quarantine is not mandatory so as not to affect the more than 50 million poor people in the country.
The Mexican government does not apply mass testing to the population and calculates forecasting using a model called sentinel, estimating that the number of patients in the country could be about nine times higher than the government is reporting, including asymptomatic people, people who are sick but staying home, and people who are sick but were not provided a COVID-19 test.
Mexico has only tested 51,000 people out of the national population of 130 million.