Record Deaths Suggest Major Covid-19 Undercount

Sanitization in Mexico City
Sanitization in Mexico City

Photo: Eneas De Troya/Flickr


An almost 40 percent increase in deaths from a typical year suggests that Mexico’s official covid-19 count is much lower than the actual death toll.

Mexico published its “excess death” statistics late Sunday, Oct. 25, with 193,170 more deaths through September than in an average year. Officially, 88,924 people in Mexico have died of covid-19, about half of the excess death count.

Medical experts have challenged the official case counts since the coronavirus pandemic hit Mexico in March, and this admission from the government seems to confirm those suspicions.

The director of Mexico’s National Center for Preventive Programs and Disease Control, Ruy López Ridaura, said that the cause is obvious.

“We can clearly see how in the first few months (of the year) the number of deaths we saw was very similar to the number we had expected, and it was precisely beginning in the 12th or 13th or 14th week of the year (in April) that we started to see this increase,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mexico has some of the highest positive test rates in the world, at 21.5 percent, according to Our World in Data.

International outlets have said the country is “flying blind” in regards to its testing strategy, and that such a high positive rate means Mexico is “only testing the sickest patients, who seek out medical attention and not casting a wide enough net.”

The official death count of 88,924 puts Mexico at 4th in the world, behind the United States, Brazil and India.

…Oct. 27, 2020

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