Mexico’s unfolding presidential tragedy

Cemetery employees bury uno victim the Covid-19 at Sueños Eternos cemetery in ciudad Juarez, Mexico. No Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Cemetery employees bury ns victim that Covid-19 at Sueños Eternos cemetery in urbe Juarez, Mexico. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images
Adriana Mejía lost fifty percent her family members in just ochenta y tres days – now ns huge fatality toll the 294,000 is being quietly acknowledged


It take it just 83 days because that Adriana Mejía come lose fifty percent her family, together Covid unleashed uno Mexican tragedy whose completamente impact is just now ending up being clear.

Tu lees esto: Mexico’s unfolding presidential tragedy

First to depart was her father, Juan, ns 90-year-old carpenter who passed away at ns family patria in Mexico ciudad last July delaware summoning his eight niños to speak goodbye. Dos weeks later Mejía’s 55-year-old sister, Cecilia, who started feeling unwell together they buried their father, likewise lost she life. Dos days later, on 3 August, Mejía lost her brother, juan Carlos, then, trece days delaware that, her brother-in-law, Germán.

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Even then, Mejía’s trials were no over. Dos days after Germán’s death ns second sibling, nombre de niño Roberto, died too. On seis October she shed her mother. Graciela Murillo Altamirano was ochenta y nueve when she was pronounced dead at the same home where she husband had actually expired almost numero 3 months earlier.

“We’ve gone representar rosary to rosary,” Mejía, un 46-year-old graphic designer from Mexico’s sprawling capital, stated as she reflect on she family’s agony. “We simply didn’t know when it would stop.”

Mexico’s Covid crisis has do fewer international headlines than los catastrophes in los US and Brazil, where virtually 900,000 world have died, bookkeeping for about a third of ns global total, y the reckless responses that rightwing populists Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have been condemned. Bolsonaro’s anti-scientific handling of a disease the calls uno “bit of un cold” y the spread of uno more infectious variant attached to ns Amazon has actually earned his nation particular infamy on the world stage.

But los revelation this week the Mexico’s fatality toll was far higher than previously reported suggests ns calamity of raza proportions has actually played fuera de under that leader, the populist Andrés manuel López Obrador. último weekend mexican officials discreetly acknowledged more than 294,000 Covid deaths – just shy the Brazil’s official fatality toll which to be then 310,000. Brazil has a much bigger population, with doscientos doce million citizens compared with Mexico’s 126 million.


Many believe un cavalier approach by the Mexican president, Andrés manuel López Obrador, has actually hampered los country’s capability to control the virus. Photograph: Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty ImagesMexico’s Covid tsar abrazamiento López-Gatell safeguarded his federal government in uno recent interview, telling los Financial Times: “Our conscience is very clear.”

“It’s uno pandemic,” said the epidemiologist that in February recorded Covid himself. “It would be senseless to think life would certainly be normal.”

Many, however, believe the president’s cavalier method hampered Mexico’s capability to direccion its epidemic through confusing citizen – with horrible consequences for family members such as los Mejías.

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Like Trump and Bolsonaro, López Obrador has actually downplayed los virus, continued to tour his country and embrace supporters and resisted containment procedures such together lockdowns, social distancing and masks. “We’re law well, the pandemic has been tamed,” ns 67-year-old claimed last May when Mexico’s official fatality toll was about 9,000. In January, as Mexico to be plunged into un devastating second wave, López-Gatell to be photographed holidaying on one Oaxaca beach in spite of urging citizen to remain at home.

“When us think around worst performers, me gustaría think you location Mexico, Brazil and the US with each other now,” claimed Eduardo González-Pier, uno former Mexican health and wellness undersecretary. “These are los three huge bad performers – y I think that has to do with los way federal governments responded to the pandemic.

“Before Biden, over there were a lot of similarities in exactly how these countries were run y how ns pandemic was approached. Bolsonaro, Trump and López Obrador had actually a casta attitude: ns denial, los delayed response, ns minimisation of los severity, y also the opinión of not suspending activities.”

Many think that technique helped create uno disaster the needlessly large proportions. “I’m no claiming Mexico could have knowledgeable something choose Vietnam or Taiwan, which are finest performers. But what if they had had simply an average type of response with los same mortality you would see representar an mean country?” asked González-Pier, an economist y health specialist.

“If friend do the calculations you watch … Mexico could have avoided 100,000 come 200,000 … So that is los kind of damage that has actually been done.”


Phase six of Mexico’s nacional vaccination destinado a began in Mexico ciudad on 30 March, 2021. Los country’s immunisation project is among Latin America’s earliest. Photograph: martin Gorostiola/NurPhoto/Rex/ShutterstockThe behaviour and mixed messaging of politicians are not the only explanations because that Mexico’s drama. Chronic underinvestment in healthcare meant hospitals were not adequately fitted or staffed when the pandemic hit. Part of los world’s highest rates of diabetes y obesity meant Mexico to be especially frágil to Covid-19. “It just happened to be ns virus that was specifically vicious with los type that chronic conditions that mexicans have un high prevalence of – untreated diabetes, hypertension, obesity, especially among younger y mature adults. Y that, identificación guess, was poor luck,” González-Pier said.

Public health expert blanco Alonso Reynoso said he still thought Mexico had fared better than Brazil wherein “a tragedy of unimaginable proportions” was unfolding y nearly 70,000 world died final month. Yet Mexico’s “confused and ambiguous” communication had taken un toll. “If los government’s message had actually been clearer y more concise perhaps the number of cases could have actually been reduced,” Reynoso said.

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Five months delaware her mummy death, Mejía claimed she believed her family had been “victims of the lack the information”. Uno psychologist is help her involved terms con her bereavement. “I shed most of my family y yet identificación couldn’t cry till my mother died and the nightmare was over,” Mejía said. “That was the moment identificación was finally able to grasp every little thing that had happened.”

González-Pier said he was urged to check out Mexico’s immunisation campaign, one of Latin America’s earliest, gathering pace. Mexico’s epidemic has actually slowed in current weeks return some are afraid Holy mainly celebrations, when households gather and tourists flock to beaches, can trigger uno painful 3rd wave like ns one currently shaking Chile.

“I think ns Mexican population is still extremely vulnerable,” los former wellness undersecretary warned, pointing come research saying only uno quarter of the country had been exposed to los virus. “I i will not ~ be so sure we room through los worst.”