Mexico Sees Covid-19 Toll Climb With Record 501 Daily Deaths

(Bloomberg) -- Mexico reported a record increase of 501 daily Covid-19 deaths, bringing the total to 8,134, according to a Health Ministry presentation Tuesday night. Total cases climbed by a daily record 3,455 to 74,560.

The rising toll comes after Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said this morning that the death rate is stabilizing and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico is close to overcoming the crisis. Mexico announced earlier this month it would reopen its economy, lifting lockdowns in rural municipalities with few reported cases and restarting its auto, mining and construction sectors, just as daily deaths began to hit records.

The country is rising among countries with the deadliest outbreaks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Even before the numbers were updated to reflect Tuesday’s record, Mexico had the ninth-deadliest outbreak and wasn’t far behind Germany, which showed 8,372 deaths.

Lopez Obrador’s government is navigating a precarious situation with the pandemic as it seeks to balance the risk of the deadly illness against citizens’ need to work to survive. Bank of America predicts the country’s economy will contract 10% in 2020, Mexico lost more than 500,000 formal jobs in April, and Lopez Obrador predicts the loss of another 400,000 in May.

Still, with Mexico’s low testing rate for Covid-19, experts have raised questions about whether the official numbers reflect the full scale of the crisis. A recent study showed Mexico City had issued 8,072 more death certificates than the average of four previous years. While those aren’t all Covid-19 deaths, it includes people who may have died because they couldn’t be attended to at crowded hospitals, the researchers said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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