Mexico has registered one million total coronavirus cases, with almost 100,000 confirmed deaths.
The country has a death rate of about 76 deaths per 100,000 people, with more health workers dying from COVID-19 than almost anywhere else in the world.
The country, with a population of about 130 million, has nearly 100,000 test-confirmed deaths, although because it has tested so few people officials suspect the real number is much higher, probably closer to 150,000.
Medical officials suspect that the country’s lax attitude towards many internationally accepted practices in pandemic management, from face mask wearing, to lockdowns, testing and contract tracing, have led to the surge.
Officials in the country claim science is on their side when it comes to a lack of testing, social distancing measures, and mask wearing.
Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell claimed earlier in the year that any wider testing would be “a waste of time”, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador almost never wears a mask.
But international experts have consistently recommended mass testing, and say face masks protect both the wearer and other people.
“In May we already began to have empirical evidence and well-documented scientific studies began to appear stressing the importance of face masks and the need for testing,” said former health secretary Dr. José Narro.
Lopez Obrador’s main promise to Mexicans is that there would be enough hospital beds for everyone who needs one, and his government has largely fulfilled that basic promise, even if Mexicans are so afraid of those hospitals they often wait until the last moment to go for treatment, at which point, doctors say, it’s often too late.
Mexico City is one of the few areas where the government’s public message has changed; where officials once urged people with the disease to stay home as long as possible, they now advise those over 60 or with risk factors like diabetes or obesity to seek treatment immediately.
Since the pandemic began, Mexico has managed to administer only about 2.5 million tests to its citizens; only seriously ill people get tested.
Testing only 1.9% of the population since the pandemic began has made it hard, if not impossible, to effective trace contacts, catch outbreaks early or identify asymptomatic cases.
Except for a few states, nobody in Mexico has attempted to enforce a lockdown or mandatory mask-wearing.
The closest thing most local authorities have done has been forcing workplaces to shut down, and fine or close businesses that allow too many customers inside at once.