Between last Wednesday and Saturday, a reported rise in the number of cases over the last 14 days confirms the beginnings of a fourth wave of COVID-19, explained Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer Varela.
After 16 consecutive weeks of infection rates declining, daily COVID-19 reports by the Health Ministry found a rise from under 18,000 active cases reported last Tuesday to 21,189 active cases last Saturday, after a rise of 3,306 contagions between Friday and Saturday’s reports. This also included 555,991 suspicious cases.
“Today we are presented with small indications of a fourth wave,” said Alcocer during the International Congress on Mental Health and Addiction Prevention in Peacebuilding, without giving more details on the matter. The current active cases make up 0.5 percent of reported cases throughout the pandemic. Currently, 17 percent of hospital beds and 14 percent of intensive care beds are already occupied. Health authorities recognize that the true number of infections so far is 4.08 million with about 440,000 casualties.
For weeks, health experts have been warning about an impending fourth wave of cases in the country despite the continuous decrease following the third wave, which began easing during late August. Mass-gatherings throughout November, such as Dia de los Muertos celebrations across the country and the Formula 1 Grand Prix race and the Corona Capital music festival in Mexico City, were criticized by health officials urging for early health protocols to be followed despite smaller case numbers.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum had stated she does not intend to shut down activities in the city and instead would opt for a campaign promoting the use of face masks. This statement came alongside the city’s Minister of Health Olivia López Arellano claiming the city, due to the rising number of vaccinations, is prepared for a fourth wave that is not expected to reach the severity of the nation’s second wave, which began around this time last year.
However, the fourth wave currently being experienced by Germany has been described by German Chancellor Angela Markel as the worst surge the country has seen so far despite the nation’s high level of vaccination, with 68 percent of the population being fully vaccinated as opposed to Mexico’s current 50 percent. Vaccination rates did not prevented Germany’s fourth wave to more than double the highest wave of infections experienced last winter, causing Chancellor Markel to call for the implementation of striker health protocols across the nation’s 16 states.
Similarly, Austria’s fourth wave has led Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg to implement a national 10-day quarantine, while vaccinations becoming mandatory starting on February 1 to contain the effects of a fourth wave and prevent a fifth. With nearly 6 million individuals, 65.4 percent of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated.
The severity of the now-begun fourth wave of COVID-19 in Mexico is yet to be determined, as health officials and politicians expect a lower number of infections and deaths in the country while global examples present a different reality.