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Mexico is underreporting COVID-19 cases

Medical personnel at a federal COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of Walmart in North Lake, Ill., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The new coronavirus cause mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The deficiency in testing for Covid-19 coronavirus results in underreporting of positive cases that prevents knowing the exact situation Mexico facing.

Even so, Jalisco had an increase of 45 percent in COVID-19 cases from March 20 to 24 compared to 99 percent in Mexico as a whole, said the rector general of the University of Guadalajara, Ricardo Villanueva Lomelí.

The prediction model developed by the UdeG is still not capable of accurately calculating the projections of infections due to not having enough samples, so it is essential to increase the number of rapid tests.

“One. The country had 54 percent more than the predicted cases, so it is vital to strengthen preventive measures. Two. Jalisco shows a slowdown in the growth of cases with respect to the country and the five states with the highest prevalence”.

“Three. With the new data, the estimate is that Mexico can reach 969 cases on Sunday, March 29. Four. Mexico has an excessively low rate of sampling and the countries that have managed to control its curve have evidently been with early detection and mass sampling is one of the best ways, there is no doubt,” he summarized.

The rector stressed that there is a direct correlation between the number of international visitors arriving at airports with the spread of the virus in cities, as Jalisco is the number 1 destination for international flights with approximately 19.85 million passengers per year against 17.64 million in Mexico City.

In this sense, he urged to restrict the flights that arrive at the international airports of Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.

Villanueva Lomelí also established that the hospital capacity of Mexico is much lower than that of countries such as South Korea, China, the United States, Italy and Spain, which he took as a reference to contrast the capacity of the health systems. While in Mexico there are 1.5 hospital beds for every thousand inhabitants, in South Korea there are 11.5, 4.2 in China and 3.4 in Italy.

This implies that Mexico should take much more severe preventive measures, also considering the prevalence of chronic diseases that predispose to greater involvement by the virus.

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Mexico has 36.1 percent obese population, while South Korea has 5.4 percent; in Mexico, 10.3 percent of people suffer from diabetes, while in Italy only 4.8 percent.

In other factors such as hypertension, the country does not have such critical conditions, with 25.5 percent of the population in that condition, similar to 23.2 percent in China or 25.9 percent in Italy, while the other countries have higher proportions.

Among these countries, Mexico has a lower average age of 29.3 years and only 7 percent of the inhabitants older than 65 years; that of the oldest population is Italy with an average of 46.5 years.