Photo: Einar Storsul/Unsplash

By KELIN DILLON

There have been over 31,754 deaths reported in states across Mexico attributed to the coronavirus, a figure 687 percent higher than the number reported by the nation’s Secretariat of Public Health (SSA) of 4,031 covid-19-related deaths.

El Universal received the requested the documents and statistics from 16 of Mexico’s states to find this figure, leading to the discovery of the actual death toll surpassing the SSA’s numbers by 27,723 deaths, despite the Health Secretariat apparently updating its official numbers weekly in the SSA’s Epidemiological Reports on the Covid-19 Situation in Mexico. 

Disparities in Guanajuato show the state’s report of 5,867 death certificates issued related to coronavirus, while the SSA only reported 352 deaths, a situation echoed in Sonora, where its own health officials said there were 3,874 deaths that the SSA underreported as only 299 cases.

The other 16 states of the country, including the State of Mexico (Edoméx) and Mexico City, did not respond to the requests for the necessary information to find such discrepancies in data, leaving the full extent of the SSA’s underreporting unknown.

“This does not look good. It is something that shows that there are significant problems with the handling of data from the pandemic,” said Laurie Ann Ximénez-Fyvie, doctor in Medical Sciences from Harvard University. 

“There are two reasons why this situation is occurring: the lack of evidence and the lack of follow-up of cases,” explained Ximénez-Fyvie. “There are many people with covid-19 who start out without serious signs, go to a hospital and are not tested, then those people get lost, their health begins to worsen and finally they die, but since they never had an initial test they stay in the suspicious category.”

The data obtained by El Universal also showed the suspected deaths of several Mexican citizens by coronavirus in January, far ahead of the first official report of a covid-related death in Mexico by the SSA on March 16, leading to questions about the reliability of the Mexican government’s statistics and the effectiveness of their use in the nation’s strategy to combat the virus.

On Saturday, March 27, the Mexican government admitted in a published report that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic was more than 321,000, almost 60 percent 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 report found there were 294,287 deaths linked to covid-19 from the start of the pandemic through Feb. 14. Since Feb. 15, there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.

…March 29, 2021

 

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