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News Article

Here Comes Phase 3

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 04/16/2020 - 11:39

Massive contagion is the hardest part of the pandemic. It means that not only crowded cities are presenting several cases but now rural zones can start too. The Mexican healthcare system is not necessary characterized by having the widest and most complete coverage, especially on rural areas, which could lead to an exceeded capacity to attend and confront the virus. Phase 3 for Mexico is happening in a matter of days, which means everyone must stay home and follow healthcare authorities’ instructions.

According to WHO, Phase 3 means an extensive spread and thousands of people affected by the virus as propagation chains become difficult to break, requiring more drastic strategies. Luckily, in Mexico, these measures have already been highly encouraged by the government and school activities and massive events had been suspended since the country entered Phase 2.

Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell has said in several occasions that following the recommendations given by the Ministry of Health will help the whole system to avoid its collapse. He had also said that the Ministry has prepared protocols on epidemiological control but Phase 3 could be too much to handle immediately, causing “irreversible damage” to society. Health authorities in Mexico have said the worst scenario could mean having up to 1.2 million people infected.

When the country faced Phase 3 in mid-January, Chinese authorities introduced unprecedented measures to contain the virus, stopping movement in and out of Wuhan, the center of the epidemic, and 15 other cities in Hubei province, home to more than 60 million people. Flights and trains were suspended and roads were blocked. According to the New York Times, people in many Chinese cities were told to stay at home and venture out only to get food or medical help. Meaning that 760 million people, about half the country’s population, were confined to their homes.

Italy was the second country ordering massive lockdowns after the virus had severely extended all over the country. Italy’s isolation period is forecast to end on May 3 and up to date, the whole country is under lockdown only allowed to go out for food, healthcare attention of mandatory job activities. This is also the case for Spain, both being criticized for acting late after the number of cases was counted in thousands.

The UK was close to replicate the tragic scenario before Prime Minister Boris Johnson got the COVID-19 himself and started ordering much strict measures that included no concentrations of more than two people. This was after having 13,000 deaths in the country.

As for the US, its situation has been very unfortunate as the country is now the epicenter of the pandemic. It was on February 26 that President Donald Trump predicted that the number of infected Americans would soon go down “close to zero.” The country’s number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now is at 644,746. Criticism still goes on against the poor and late measures taken by the government and its urgency to go back to normal.

López-Gatell has been clear saying that Mexico does not have the economic capacity of those other countries, which is why the country has encouraged safety protocols to avoid reaching a state that could be devastating for our healthcare system, society and economy.

Photo by:   La Razón México
Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst