Despite a global resurgence of COVID-19 cases across several countries as a result of the highly contagious Omicron variant, cases in Mexico remain low even after holiday celebrations. As a result, no new health protocols being enforced.
Towards the end of last week, the Health Ministry reported an 11 percent decline in COVID-19 cases against November, even after the first Omicron case was confirmed to have entered the country through a traveler who had previously stayed in South Africa. The latest report shows 3,719 confirmed cases and 137 deaths per day as well as 3,951,003 confirmed positive cases and 298,777 confirmed deaths in total. Additional reports show an increase of 10 percent in cases over the last 14 days and a 35 percent decrease in deaths during that time period.
This morning, President López Obrador reiterated the low numbers attributed to the Omicron variant during his daily morning briefing. “The cases are not many, the information tells us that contagions have not increased and the most important thing is that deaths have not increased. That does not mean that something could not change, but until now we have not had an issue,” he said.
However, virologist Andreu Comas, of the Mexican Genomic Vigilance Consortium, warns against a reliance on these numbers due to low testing rates. “Mexico is below 1 percent globally in sampling and below 15 percent in America. We are at testing levels of June of 2020 with 0.08 samples per 100,000 habitants; there are very few tests and even less are sequenced,” said Comas.
This past Sunday, the Ministry of Health reported 107 deaths due to COVID-19 in 24 hours as well as 719 more cases. Meanwhile, 42 cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). Only four new cases have been reported since Christmas celebrations took place across the country. According to Comas, Omicron cases have been reported in Mexico City, State of Mexico, Sinaloa, Michoacan and Tamaulipas, while additional cases are being studied in Jalisco and Hidalgo.
Despite reported numbers, the true impact of the variant will be determined by the state of the nation’s hospitals. During the contagion wave of late 2020, patients not being able to find medical attention or hospital beds was one of the main complications. Currently, 100 hospitals across 25 entities have reported more than 70 occupancy in their general beds for treatment of patients with severe cases of COVID-19.