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If at least 90 percent of Mexicans wore face masks in public places, the number of covid-19 cases would drop by as much as 60 percent, according to the head of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Molecular Genetic Laboratories.

“The use of face coverings should be mandatory,” said Laurie Ann Ximénez-Fyvie, a Harvard graduate microbiologist, said in an interview with the Mexican daily El Financiero.

“And refusal to wear one in public should be punishable with fines and even incarceration.”

Ximénez-Fyvie went on to say that the use of surgical masks does not only protect the wearer, but also those with which asymptomatic carriers come in contact.

“The use of masks can save an enormous number of lives,” she told El Financiero reporter Eduardo Ortega.

Ximénez-Fyvie said that the government needs to take actions beyond simply trying to mitigate the spread of the covid pandemic, by focusing on mass detection and the isolation of carriers, 40 percent of whom are asymptomatic.

She also said that early detection through the use of oximeters (which measure the amount of oxygen in the blood stream) and rapid medical intervention of covid-19 patients with anticoagulant and anti-inflammatory drugs could prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

Notwithstanding, the Mexican government has instead opted to tell people with early signs of the disease to remain home and only seek hospitalized attention if they are suffering from severe respiratory problems.

“I believe this is a criminal attitude,” Ximénez-Fyvie told El Financiero.

“I don’t think it is a policy that was established with malintent, but it still leads to criminal consequences.”

The UNAM physician said that if the federal government does not take more serious measures to contain the spread of the virus, the future scenario for Mexico will be “catastrophic,” given a machine-learning projection model developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) analyst Youyang Gu.

According to Gu’s projection, she said, Mexico will suffer about 110,000 deaths by the start of November.

“If we multiply that number by three — which is the calculated under-registration of cases in Mexico — we are talking about the deaths of nearly 350,000 people by Nov. 1. And that constitutes a catastrophe.”

…July 14, 2020


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