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By KELIN DILLON

Despite urging from scientists and medical specialists, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has decidedly refused to make wearing a mask mandatory in Mexico.

A letter to AMLO, signed by 400 medical specialists throughout Mexico, presented seven ideas to help combat the spread of coronavirus nationwide, including making mask-wearing mandatory in federal and state agencies, which AMLO has declined to consider.  

López Obrador’s brash decision comes shortly after Mexico surpassed India to take the unwanted distinction of the third-highest covid-related death toll in the world, only behind the United States and Brazil, with 166,731 coronavirus fatalities seen so far in the nation.

With its slow-moving vaccination program, Mexico’s body count continues to rise, with an average of over 1,000 deaths per day last week alone, showing a clear need to increase restrictions in order to stop the deaths, and that a laissez-faire attitude can quickly turn into self-inflicted damage.

“In Mexico ,there is no authoritarianism,” López Obrador said on the morning of Monday, Feb. 8, in his refusal to mandate mask-wearing and in an attempt to absolve the government of accountability for Mexico’s ever-increasing covid-problem.

“It is forbidden to prohibit, everything is voluntary, the most important thing is freedom and everyone must assume their own responsibility.”

Regardless of the climbing mortalities in Mexico, AMLO has doubled-down on his every-man-for-himself ideals, declining to wear a mask himself in his first appearance back at his daily morning press conferences at the National Palace following a two-week sabbatical for his own battle with coronavirus. 

When asked verbatim by a reporter if he’d start wearing the face coverings recommended worldwide by the medical community to combat the spread of the virus, López Obrador responded, without hesitation, “No.”

The letter from experts also suggested defunding several of AMLO’s personal pet projects for the time being, including the Maya Train and the Santa Lucía airport, to instead divert those funds into health research and the acquisition of more vaccines, a recommendation López Obrador is unlikely to follow considering his own personal stake in the aforementioned projects.

The specialists also recommended developing a quarantine plan and requiring negative tests for the entry of foreigners coming into Mexico from countries with a high-covid rate, another point unlikely for AMLO to take, considering Mexico’s desperate need for tourism revenue.

“In Mexico, with the pandemic, there has been no curfew as in other parts of the world, nor has there been any forced to quarantines,” said López Obrador. “It is the decision of each person.”

As Mexico continues to struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps its population could benefit from a little more guidance, like the medical experts suggested in their letter, rather than none at all.

…Feb. 10, 2021

 

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