The former health secretary, José Narro, criticized the figures provided by Hugo López-Gatell, undersecretary of prevention and health promotion, regarding the advance of the coronavirus in Mexico and recalled that something similar happened with the AH1N1 epidemic in 2009.
Narro Robles is an academic graduated from the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico ( UNAM ) and has the recognition of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Birmingham, England. He was rector of the UNAM in two periods and has been a member of the Institutional Revolution Party ( PRI ) and the Democratic Revolution Party ( PRD ).
The former secretary said that “in Mexico, the COVID-19 pandemic is a very serious problem and we have to understand it in its full dimension… Hugo López-Gatell’s figures do not add up, while generating mistrust and uncertainty”.
The former secretary published a series of charts comparing possible cases and confirmed cases of AH1N1 in 2019 with those of 2020; and an explanation that indicates the probability that SARS-CoV-2 cases are misdiagnosed and on the influenza list.
“In reality, many cases of COVID-19 are found in influenza statistics, as many deaths from coronavirus are in the chapter of atypical pneumonias and the like. For this, justifiably, there is mistrust about the pandemic figures,” explained Dr. Narro.
He also pointed out that according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD ), “Mexico is the country with the fewest tests applied per thousand inhabitants: 0.4 compared to 22.9 of the average of the member countries.” This implies that there is an incomplete sampling. “They (the government) never wanted to massively apply diagnostic tests.”
“The Mexican government has also said that the number of infected people can be 8 or more than 30 times higher than what is being reported. The difference would have a wide range of possible real infections between more than 120,000 and 500,000. So you can’t believe them! “
The former secretary of health isn’t the only person questioning the numbers being reported by the government. Governors have also reported that the federal numbers are lower than what the states are reporting.
The governors of Michoacán ( Silvano Aureoles ), Jalisco ( Enrique Alfaro ), Puebla ( Miguel Barbosa ) and Baja California ( Jaime Bonilla ), have also dismissed the information provided by the epidemiology expert at the daily conferences held in the National Palace, since these politicians have wanted to implement advanced measures of prevention, detection, containment and care against COVID-19, which, based on protocols established by the World Health Organization ( WHO ), have been discredited by López-Gatell.
Also, some researchers from other top-level institutions in the country such as UNAM have agreed, with an acceptable margin of difference, that the figures currently provided and estimated in the short and medium-term by SSa, coincide with their own calculations.
So far, the official number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Mexico is 15,529 and 1,434 deaths.