Mexico’s Excess Deaths Far Exceed Official Coronavirus Toll

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Excess deaths in Mexico for 2020 and early 2021 exceeded 417,000, more than double the official number of fatalities from the pandemic, the federal government said in a report that also sharply raised what it called Covid-related deaths.

On Thursday Mexico became the third country with more than 200,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, trailing only U.S. and Brazil, countries with much larger populations.

But in a report released on Saturday, what were termed Covid-associated deaths were far higher, at 294,287 through mid-February. In all, some 71% of excess deaths were said to be “associated” with Covid based on a review of death certificates.

For months, Mexican pandemic fatalities have been assumed to be much higher than its official figures because of a low level of testing. Many suspected illnesses and deaths went undiagnosed, and Mexico’s 2.2 million confirmed Covid cases rank only 14th globally.

Overwhelmed health systems also pushed deaths beyond levels expected in a normal year as treatment for other conditions was curtailed.

In February, the government reported excess deaths of 326,069 for 2020, 45% higher than Mexico would expect in a regular year. In the latest report, which adds data from the first six weeks of 2021, that figure reached 417,002.

Mexico is ramping up its vaccination pace, now running at about 186,000 doses per day. At that rate it would take 2.8 years to cover 75% of the country’s population with a two-dose vaccine.

The U.S. is expected to send 2.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico, with 1.5 million due to arrive on Sunday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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