In recent weeks, the COVID-19 epidemic in Mexico has increased its rate of transmission. The slope of the contagion curve becomes more and more vertical and, consequently, there is less availability of hospital beds to care for patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Since February 28, the day the first case of coronavirus was registered in the country, 1,350,079 infections and 120,311 deaths have accumulated. The country admits the numbers are likely much greater than those being reported because of a lack of testing in the country. Only those with severe symptoms are tested for COVID-19.
Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, said early in the pandemic that more than 60,000 deaths would be a “catastrophic scenario”, the country has more than doubled his worse fears.
Health authorities in Mexico rejected the use of masks as an efficient measure to stop the spread of the disease.
Days before the first case was presented in Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador assured that his administration would not make the same mistake of past governments, which established the mandatory use of a protective mask during the health contingency caused by influenza H1N1.
“Now they are going to explain it to you. Just tell them that we do not have cases of COVID in Mexico. That we are acting with great responsibility, that we are not going to make the mistake that was made in other government,” he said in a morning press conference.
Later, the use of face masks was widely recommended by experts nationally and internationally. The World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated that its use is effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
These controversial statements were supported by the Undersecretary of Health, who argued on multiple occasions that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support that the use of face masks contributes to the mitigation of the epidemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
On the contrary, López-Gatell said, wearing a protective mask can give people a “false” sense of security, which would lead to relaxing the hygiene and social distancing measures necessary to stop the contagion.
“It’s not that it’s wrong to wear a mask, it doesn’t hurt to wear a mask. There is a phenomenon called risk compensation, which consists in the fact that people could feel protected because their face is covered with a mask and then begin to decrease their attention to other health security measures; if that happens, the possible benefit of the mask could be counteracted by the reduction of discipline, intensity, and the constancy of other measures”, indicated the federal official.
On April 27, the man who has been in charge of communicating to the population everything related to the coronavirus disease again expressed his opinion regarding the use of the mask as a tool to prevent the transmission of said disease.
“Wearing a mask has a poor or even null utility,” the country’s top doctor told the citizens of Mexico.
After almost 9 weeks of confinement due to coronavirus, the government of Mexico determined the gradual and orderly reopening of the country’s social, economic, and educational life. To make way for this “new normal”, the epidemiological COVID-19 semaphore was established.
The colors red, orange, yellow and green indicate the level of contagion risk present in each State, a situation that state governments decide based on their indicators.
Since epidemiological week number 29, a decrease in confirmed coronavirus cases at the national level began to be registered. This period of decline ended 9 weeks later, and since then, the transmission of the disease has accelerated.
Source: El Universal