Mexican gov’t: Clear signs that 3rd coronavirus wave is waning

By Pedro Pablo Cortes

Mexico City, Aug 24 (EFE).- Mexico’s government said Tuesday there are clear signs the country’s third Covid-19 wave is waning, making that assertion despite record daily case numbers in recent days.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration made that assessment a week before the scheduled controversial resumption of in-person schooling.

With daily confirmed cases down 10 percent at the start of the current week, initial weekly coronavirus numbers have now fallen for the past three weeks, Mexico’s coronavirus czar, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said at AMLO’s daily press briefing at Mexico City’s National Palace.

“It’s very likely we’ll end the week, this coming Saturday, still with a reduction of possibly around 5 percent. This would then start to be a clearer sign that the third wave is trending downward,” the deputy secretary of health prevention and promotion said.

Mexico has been mired in a third Covid-19 wave for nearly three months and last Wednesday set a new record for daily confirmed cases with nearly 29,000.

The number of fatalities attributed to Covid-19 in Mexico, whose death toll is the fourth-highest worldwide after the United States, Brazil and India, also pushed past the 250,000 level last Thursday.

But Lopez-Gatell accused the media of creating confusion with “contradictory messages,” arguing that the indicators clearly reveal a consistent downward trend.

More than 20 of 32 Mexican states are on red alert due to hospital bed occupancy rates above 50 percent, according to figures from a network of hospitals that treat patients with severe acute respiratory infections.

Lopez-Gatell, however, said those rates are starting to fall in several of Mexico’s federal entities and in particular in Mexico City, which has been the country’s main pandemic hotspot.

There are also clear signs of a reduction in case fatality rates, the coronavirus czar said.

These latest figures come at a time when the Mexican government is preparing for a return to in-person schooling, a plan that has been criticized by some parents.

Mexican schools have been closed since March 2020, a policy that has affected more than 30 million students nationwide.

Questioned about concerns in certain quarters, Lopez-Gatell said there is only a 0.004 percent chance of a minor being hospitalized due to Covid-19 and that the risk of death from that respiratory disease “is almost nil.”

In terms of preventative measures, Mexico on Tuesday received an initial batch of 1.75 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine that were donated by the US, with another batch of doses of that vaccine to be shipped within a month.

An additional 4.6 million doses of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca are scheduled to arrive in the first half of September.

The government has ruled out imposing more coronavirus-mitigation measures and is focused on making further progress with a vaccine rollout that has already seen 81.2 million Covid-19 doses administered.

A total of 63 percent of Mexico’s adult population has received at least one dose, but only 31.2 million of Mexico’s 126 million people have received the full vaccine series.

“It’s the best prevention (alternative), so we’re not hospitalized and so there are no deaths. We don’t have an option better than getting vaccinated,” AMLO said when asked how the government plans to respond to future Covid-19 waves.

Lopez Obrador, who has been skeptical about the usefulness of a Covid-19 booster shot, or “third dose,” said his government has already paid out 30 billion pesos ($1.5 billion) to guarantee a sufficient supply of vaccines.

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