Covid-19 in Mexico - Update
August 1, 2020Questions about the reliability of Covid-19 numbers coming from Mexico abound. Most experts agree that the numbers do not accurately reflect the full picture.
This article highlights the relationships between different categories of numbers - number of cases, total deaths, and the spread throughout Mexico.
The states we visit most often are Nayarit and Jalisco. The extent of the spread in these states is at the low end of the spectrum, and the Nayarit Governor has been very proactive. The result is there seems to be an effort by the citizens to abide by best practices to keep everyone safe.
The point of this article is to highlight the differences between numbers Mexican authorities send to Johns Hopkins and the true extent of the spread of the virus. There is a difference, but there are discrpancies in numbers from other countries too. Also, the extent of the spread in Nayarit and Jalisco is way less than other parts of the country. Finally, staying on Vidanta's property is probably the safest option one could pursue.
In the final analysis, it is our own personal decision to travel or not, and it is our responsibility to protect ourselves and others by using best practices. Enjoy the article:
Statistics are quoted to help understand the true extent of the spread and impact of Covid-19. Yet when one looks closely at the numbers, it does not appear firm, reliable conclusions can be drawn. Experts are quoted in this article and other articles, and yet questions remain.
Mexico’s Covid case numbers could actually be 7 million: specialistBut the figure is based on a fatality rate that might not apply in Mexico
Mexico’s real coronavirus case tally could be more than 7 million, according to an infectious disease specialist, a figure more than 17 times higher than the current count of confirmed cases.
A total of 408,449 people have tested positive in Mexico as of Wednesday while there have been 45,361 confirmed Covid-19 deaths. Those figures yield a fatality rate of 11.1 per 100 cases, meaning that one in every nine people diagnosed with Covid-19 dies.
The global rate is 3.9 based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University that shows that more than 17.1 million people around the world have tested positive for Covid-19 and almost 670,000 people have died.
But Amesh A. Adalja, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, United States, told the news agency Bloomberg that a fair estimate of the real fatality rate would be 0.6 considering that many cases go undetected.
If that rate is applied to Mexico’s official Covid-19 death numbers, total case numbers here would total about 7.1 million.
Mexico’s testing rate is certainly low – only 7,286 tests per 1 million inhabitants had been performed by Wednesday, according to the statistics portal Statista – meaning that large numbers of cases, especially mild and asymptomatic ones, go undetected.
But the assumption that the fatality rate here is on par with the world as a whole is likely flawed.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, the government’s coronavirus point man, has said on innumerable occasions that Mexico’s death toll is as high as it is because of the high prevalence of health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, all of which can cause complications for coronavirus patients.
The government concedes that many cases go undetected but would likely argue that the real case numbers are not as high as Adalja suggests.
Early in the pandemic, the Health Ministry estimated that there were about eight undetected cases for every confirmed one. If the same estimation was applied now, total cases in Mexico would be about 3.7 million and the fatality rate would be 1.2 per 100 cases, double Adalja’s global estimate.
Given that Mexico does indeed have a very high prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, and that coronavirus patients with that condition are much more likely to die, a 1.2 fatality rate, and by extension a case tally of 3.7 million, seems more credible.
In any case, the case numbers are undoubtedly much higher than those reported, and according to Adalja, Mexico’s coronavirus outbreak “is out of control.”
“If you’re not testing, tracing, isolating, you’re going to have chains of transmission that land on vulnerable people and you’re going to have high hospitalizations and deaths,” he said.
While coronavirus cases are almost certainly being drastically undercounted, the same can be said about Covid-19 deaths.
An analysis presented by health authorities last weekend that looked at deaths in 20 states between March 15 and June 27 found that fatalities were 55% higher than in previous years.
Excess deaths in the 20 states totaled 71,315 but only 22,400 were classified as being caused by Covid-19.
Many of the other excess deaths can likely be attributed to people delaying treatment for a range of medical problems due to fear they could be exposed to coronavirus as well as overburdened hospitals but it is probable that more than just 22,400 were caused by Covid-19.
Another new study found that that deaths among Mexico City residents between April 19 and June 30 were 161% above their normal level, providing more evidence that Mexico has been grossly underestimating its Covid-19 death toll.
Although statistics coming from Mexico likely do not reflect the actual spread of Covid-19 throughout the country, a case could be made that Vidanta's properties are safe to visit because of the protocols that management has adopted, the state requirement to operate at a lower than normal rate of occupancy and the large sizes of their properties. People who are there now say they feel completely safe.
In the final analysis, the best way to go about our lives appears to be to stay away from groups made up of strangers, stay outside as much as possible, wear masks when indoors and stay apart wearing masks by six feet when sociallizing with others who are not family members.