MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico is ready to overtake Britain as the country with the third highest coronavirus mortality rate as a pandemic reaches new milestones in Latin America and threatens to disrupt efforts to reopen the economy.
PHOTO PHOTO: Family members stand as musicians playing songs during the funeral of someone who died of coronavirus (COVID-19), at the funeral of San Lorenzo Tezonco in Mexico City, Mexico July 29, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Jasso
The unwanted note will place Mexico behind Brazil, the largest and most populous country in Latin America, and the United States. More than 91,000 people have died in Brazil and the number of deaths in the United States has exceeded 152,000.
Mexico on Thursday recorded 639 additional deaths to increase the number of coronavirus victims to 46,000, with 416,179 confirmed cases. Britain has recorded 46,084 deaths and 303,913 cases, according to calculations by Johns Hopkins University.
Mexican officials said the spread of the pandemic was likely far more extensive than reflected by official figures.
The increasing number of victims has strengthened Latin America’s status as one of the centers of the spread of the virus because cases in the region have doubled last month to more than 4.7 million infections.
While Britain appears to have stepped on the virus, the pandemic shows some signs of a slowdown in Mexico, which has been trying to restart the economy since late May.
“We open when we are not ready to open,” said Rosa Maria del Angel, head of Infection and Molecular Pathogenesis at the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who angered some health advocates by refusing to wear masks in public, said Friday that Mexico plans to continue with celebrations at Zocalo Square in the capital to mark Independence Day.
The September 16 ceremony celebrating the historic call for rebellion known as “El Grito” will “socially alienate”, Lopez Obrador said at his daily press conference in the morning.
“Facing difficulties, with epidemics, with floods, earthquakes, bad government, we always go out (to celebrate),” he said. “Now we will continue dating.”
Lopez Obrador has convicted news organizations for reporting Mexico’s rise in the global death toll count, saying the number of victims per capita is a more just representative.
Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Additional reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Aurora Ellis