MEXICO – The country will reach on Friday, according to the most recent official forecast, the high point of the epidemic due to COVID-19, a disease that now totals more than 3.5 million infected people in the world and in Mexico has exceeded 26,025 cases and 2,507 dead.
On May 1, the undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, indicated at a press conference that the “peak” moment of the pandemic would be May 6, when it is almost two and a half months after the first case in the country, but this Tuesday extended the forecast to Friday.
These are the main key points to understand the pandemic in Mexico.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST CASE DETECTED AND WHO WAS IT?
The first case of COVID-19 in Mexico was disclosed on February 28, 2020 in a 35-year-old man who returned from Italy. The Ministry of Health reported that the infected was isolated at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER) “with mild symptoms.”
WHEN WAS THE FIRST DEATH DUE TO COVID-19?
On March 19, the Ministry of Health reported that a 41-year-old man hospitalized was the first fatal victim of COVID-19.
The deceased had diabetes and had no history of traveling abroad. Family members suspected he had caught it by attending a rock concert at the Palacio de los Deportes on March 3.
It would be one of the measures to avoid hospital saturation at the request of anticipated infections.
WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT ESTIMATE IN THE NUMBER OF DEAD AND CASES?
According to López-Gatell, in Mexico the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will affect some 250,000 Mexicans with symptoms, but thousands more could become ill without showing any signs. He also estimated that the death toll could rise to 8,000 deaths.
WHEN DO PREVENTIVE MEASURES BEGIN IN THE COUNTRY?
On March 23, the health authorities implemented preventive actions to reduce the risk of contagion.
Classes were suspended for a month and also non-essential activities, massive events were canceled, the population was asked to avoid crowds, isolate themselves in their homes and maintain a physical distance.
A day later López-Gatell declared the start of the so-called phase 2 in the country, which contemplates community broadcasting.
At least twenty people broke into an Ecatepec hospital to find out information about the health of their relatives admitted by COVID-19.
WHEN WAS THE SANITARY EMERGENCY DECREED AND WHAT MEASURES WERE TAKEN?
On March 31, the Mexican government declared a “health emergency due to force majeure” after Mexico exceeded 1,000 infected and exceeded 20 coronavirus deaths.
All non-essential activities were suspended and companies and employers were determined to maintain jobs and wages.
WHEN WAS THE COUNTRY DECLARED IN THE MAXIMUM PHASE OF CONTAGIA?
On April 21, the Mexican government declared the maximum contagion phase and estimated for early May this peak of cases and hospitalizations.
Days later, the extension of the social distancing measures was formalized until May 30, although in the least affected regions they would be advanced until May 17.
In addition, they estimated that the end of the pandemic could start on June 25, although this will depend on the population observing the measures indicated by the authorities.
The crematoriums in the Mexican capital are at the limit of their capacity when the country has not yet reached the peak of contagions and deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN POEMS OF THE COUNTRY?
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mexico is the country with the fewest tests, only 0.4 per 1,000 inhabitants.
However, for the authorities, the traditional format for epidemiological surveillance is overspending and focuses on the sentinel model, which estimates that there are about nine more cases of coronavirus than those officially reported.
In addition to this, health sector personnel have come out to protest in the streets denouncing the lack of material and protocols.
Hospitals do not have enough ventilators in their entirety to attend patients in intensive care, so Mexico has bought supplies from China, the United States and private providers, receiving some criticism for alleged lack of transparency.
ARE HOSPITALS SATURATED?
Health authorities estimate that in its most critical phase the country will require between 15,000 and 16,000 beds for critically ill patients.
The most recent figures indicate that 31% of beds for general hospitalization and 25% of ventilated beds (for critically ill patients) are occupied.
A hospital in Mexico implemented this method.
However, there are great differences between states and in Mexico City -which accumulates the majority of cases with 6,785- Sinaloa and Baja California the level of occupation is more alarming.
In Mexico City, hospital saturation is 69% in general beds and 61% in intensive care beds; in Sinaloa this percentage is 40% and 58%, respectively; and in Baja California (with special emphasis on the Tijuana border) occupancy is 63% and 48%.
However, the health authorities insist that thanks to the “hospital restructuring” in the coming days new hospitals and field medical centers will begin to operate, giving more capacity to the system.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN AFFECTATIONS IN THE ECONOMY?
Specialists from the private sector estimate that the pandemic will cause a 7.27% drop in Mexico’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) this year, according to a Bank of Mexico survey released this Monday.
While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimated that, with a 6.6% drop, that of Mexico will be the third most affected Latin American economy after Venezuela and Belize.
Meanwhile, experts forecast the loss of more than a million jobs.