Country reveals shocking truth about its coronavirus death toll

Associated Press
·2-min read

Mexico’s government acknowledged that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000, almost 60 per cent more than the official test-confirmed number of 201,429.

Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test. The only way to get a clear picture is to look at “excess deaths” and review death certificates.

On Saturday (local time), the government quietly published such a report, which found there were 294,287 deaths linked to Covid-19 from the start of the pandemic through February 14.

Since February 15 there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.

workers ride their horses in the Valle de Chalco municipal cemetery, mostly reserved for those who have died from the coronavirus, on the outskirts of Mexico City
workers ride their horses in the Valle de Chalco municipal cemetery, mostly reserved for those who have died from the coronavirus, on the outskirts of Mexico City. Source: AP

The higher toll would rival that of Brazil, which currently has the world’s second-highest number of deaths after the United States. But Mexico’s population of 126 million is far smaller than either of those countries.

The new report also confirms just how deadly Mexico’s second wave in January was. As of the end of December, excess death estimates suggested a total of about 220,000 deaths related to Covid-19 in Mexico.

That number jumped by around 75,000 in just a month and a half.

crematorium workers burn the coffins that contained the remains of people who died from the coronavirus after their cremation at the San Nicolas Tolentino cemetery in the Iztapalapa neighbourhood of Mexico City
The new report also confirms just how deadly Mexico’s second wave of Covid-19 in January was. Source: AP

Also suggestive were the overall number of “excess deaths” since the pandemic began, around 417,000.

Excess deaths are determined by comparing the deaths in a given year to those that would be expected based on data from previous years.

A review of death certificates found about 70.5 per cent of the excess deaths were Covid-19 related, often because it was listed on the certificates as a suspected or contributing cause of death.

workers wearing full protection gear amid the new coronavirus pandemic, lower a coffin into a grave in an area of the San Rafael municipal cemetery set apart for people who have died from Covid-19
The number of deaths linked to Covid-19 is almost 60 per cent more than testing numbers indicated. Source: AP

But some experts say Covid-19 may have contributed to many of the other excess deaths because many people couldn’t get treatment for other diseases because hospitals were overwhelmed.

Former President Felipe Calderón wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday (local time) that “more than 400,000 Mexicans have died, above the average for previous years ... probably the highest figure in the world.”

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