Mexico never declared end to pandemic, senior health official says

Mexico City, Jun 7 (EFE).- Faced with an increase in Covid-19 cases in Mexico in recent days, a senior health official said here Tuesday that the coronavirus is clearly here to stay but now is heading toward an endemic stage and poses far less risk than before.

“The endemic stage is not the end of the epidemic. There’s been a lot of confusion,” Hugo Lopez Gatell, Mexico’s deputy health secretary and coronavirus czar, said at President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s daily press conference at Mexico City’s National Palace. “Some articles and commentators have said we’d declared the epidemic was over. We never said the epidemic had ended.”

Even though 80 percent of Mexico’s adult population has been vaccinated, expectations are the pandemic will “be around forever,” Lopez Gatell said, adding it will likely be more transmissible but cause less harm.

“That’s what’s going to happen. There will start to be (increasingly seasonal) waves.”

The health official said the message from Mexico, as well as from European nations, the World Health Organization and several other countries, “is that the emerging (phase) of the pandemic” is over.

Mexico registered an increase in Covid-19 cases on Monday in nine federal entities, although health authorities said that upward trend has had no impact on hospitalizations or deaths.

A total of 18,539 new coronavirus cases and 146 Covid-19 deaths were registered over the past week, compared to 12,265 new cases and 89 deaths during the previous week.

The federal entities that saw rising case loads were Mexico City and the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California, Campeche, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa and Yucatan.

But Lopez Gatell reminded Mexican citizens that a possible fifth Covid-19 wave in Mexico is part of the virus’ transition from a pandemic phase to an endemic phase.

“The good news is that it is transitioning from being a very harmful and virulent illness that causes severe illness and death to an illness with little ability to cause significant harm and greater transmissibility,” the coronavirus czar said.

In that regard, he said the most likely scenario is that seasonally driven waves will occur, “most likely between October and March.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Mexico has registered 5,789,401 coronavirus cases and around 325,000 Covid-19 deaths.

Mexico ranks 21st worldwide in total confirmed cases, according to the tally of Johns Hopkins University.

In terms of deaths attributed to Covid-19, Mexico is fifth behind only the United States, Brazil, India and Russia.



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