The Mexican Health Ministry has confirmed that less than 300 people have been tested for the coronavirus since February 8, when the first case was announced. As of today, Mexico has only confirmed 8 cases of the pandemic.
“I’m worried about the lack of diagnostic testing,” said Francisco Moreno, infectious disease specialist and head of Internal Medicine at ABC Hospital in Mexico City. “If Mexico has undetected cases circulating, the spread of the disease is going to be brutal.”
Mexico’s President has continued to reassure people, “We have the best experts on the matter. We still have the same number of cases and luckily there’s been no loss of life. We’re not hiding information from the population.”
At the same time, Mexico has seen an increase in deaths being contributed to seasonal influenza, which without testing could be misdiagnosed due to the similarities between influenza and the coronavirus.
Moreno suggested that Mexico is waiting for the pandemic to create problems before addressing the spread.
Currently, Mexico is only allowing testing for people who have known direct contact with the 8 confirmed cases in Mexico or recent travels to high-risk areas.
“It’s likely that they’ve missed some cases and will continue to do so if they don’t increase testing,” says Alejandro Macias, the former national commissioner for influenza in Mexico during the H1N1 outbreak.
The government of Mexico has misled the public about the risks and possible exposure, including denying a passenger on a Princess Cruise that tested positive had visited Mexico, despite passenger logs.
The daily press briefings with Mexico’s President include accusations that conservatives are using the coronavirus to end his presidency.
Mexico has successfully kept the coronavirus numbers low, not through prevention, but through a lack of testing driven by politics and not the health of the public.