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COVID-19 in Mexico: unreported suffering

S Hermann and F Richter photo via

Mexico has seen 408,449 COVID-19 cases confirmed, with 45,361 deaths– 11% of cases are deaths, according to Worldometer. There are reports that testing is extremely limited by government policy in Mexico. According to Wikipedia, a government agency estimated that there were actually over 2.8 million cases, although their methodology is unknown.

If the death rate were only 1%, which would be low, that would mean that there would be 28,000 deaths. If there were 45,000 deaths, at a death rate of 1%, there would be 4.5 million cases… so your guess about the true figures is as good as mine.

Searching in Google, I was unable to find much recent information about Mexico’s COVID-19 problems. This Vox article from May 13 states that the pandemic in Mexico is being deliberately undercounted.

This article in the Yucatan Times from July 29 details the financial toll that is exacted from patients trying to get treatment for the virus in Mexico. There is, theoretically, public health care there, but the public hospitals are overwhelmed. Private hospitals demand pre-payment of large fees before even accepting patients at all.

This article in the Washington Post from July 2 says that Mexico City’s death rate tripled from March through May. The article includes figures stating 27,394 people died in Mexico City during that period, although the government reported only 4,000 coronavirus deaths. This would suggest that they are reporting less than half of deaths due to coronavirus.

Actually, it is worse than that, because according to the article, it takes at least a year for the government to finish totalling up all deaths for any given period. Add a few thousand more, but at this point, the exact number matters less than the overall picture of devastation.

With the border closed, there is little chance of spillage of Mexican cases into the US. Untold suffering is going on there, and if you think the US has problems, I am sure Mexico’s problems are worse. Our government is not handling the pandemic well, but Mexico’s government is doing very poorly.

I’m not going to look at the numbers from Canada (I’m tired), but all reports are that they are doing far, far better than we are. Fortunately, that border is closed as well.

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