Was Mexico City’s Lockdown Enforced Too Late?By MBN Staff | Tue, 12/22/2020 - 15:02
Mexico City’s government announced that the city would go back to ‘red light’ and lock down once again in an effort to fight the spread of COVID-19. A report from the New York Times (NYT) argues that this decision was taken too late and the city´s government ignored the government's health protocols and standards. As a result of a late lockdown, hospitalizations are spiking drastically in January and ventilator capacity is dwindling.
Early in December, COVID-19 was spreading rapidly through Mexico and in its capital in particular. Even though an uptick in cases was visible, officials told the general public during a December 4 update that the city had not reached critical levels yet. However, NYT said that the city should have been placed under lockdown mode if it had followed the standards it had set for itself. Nevertheless, Mexico City’s stores and restaurants kept on receiving people for two weeks after that.
Mexico City’s official standards considers new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospital capacity into account to determine whether its traffic light system moves from green, to orange, to red, respectively. Meant to be a transparent system, critics have pointed out that there seem to be various shades of orange, Bloomberg reports. “Her message is confusing (Claudia Sheinbaum) -- Is it orange? Is it red? You can go outside but it’s better to stay home. This is leading people to make bad decisions,” the article quotes former health minister, Salomon Chertorivski. Plenty of governments can be blamed for testing how far the orange light can go, the UK and Quebec are among the notable examples. In Mexico, hospital occupancy rate was over 85 percent during the past weekend. NYT shows that this is a result of the information, signed by López-Gatell, Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, and sent to Mexico City´s Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum. Mexico City operates based on its own information, López-Gatell noted yesterday. In the December 4 document, only 45 percent of hospital beds with ventilators appeared to be full. But official government data supported by UNAM research reported that 58 percent were full, which was past the line to warrant a lockdown.
By reporting lower figures for hospital occupancy and ventilator availability, along with infection numbers, struggling business were allowed to stay open for the past two weeks. As a downside, hospital capacity was already overflowing, with consecutive records for occupancy rates broken. Sheinbaum noted that “this time of year is really important in terms of families’ finances,” as the Mexican government does not have enough resources for extensive stimulus plans. Even though financial issues are prominent and many would rather see out the odds against the coronavirus than shut down activity, marginalized citizens suffer from the lack of capacity. Private clinics, for instance, still have space available, but for many financial costs are simply too high.