What Is The Cost of COVID-19 for Mexicans at Risk?By Samantha Bonomo | Fri, 04/10/2020 - 07:09
WHO pointed out a couple of months ago that people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, overweight and obesity are more likely to develop complications in case of a COVID-19 infection and therefore at highest risk of death. According to epidemiological forecasting models, the rate of patients requiring highly specialized care in an Intensive Care Unit could exceed by 6 percent the federal government’s expectations.
Unfortunately, Mexico, unlike other countries, has a very high rate of Type 2 diabetes, which normally derivates from poor eating habits. Data from ENSANUT 2018 tells us that 10.3 percent of the population in Mexico has Type 2 Diabetes, while the average number of overweight or obese people in Mexico is at 74 percent. This is equivalent to nearly 89 million people who are at greater risk of complications if they contract the virus, which also derives in higher health expenses.
For example, the cost of medical care for a person hospitalized without any complications is MX$13,000 (US$551). However, a person who is hospitalized and needs more medical care and the use of intensive care can spend up to MX$75,000 (US$3,180), meaning an increase of 57.9 percent. This is without considering costs for the hospital itself, including MX$18,500 (US$784.9) in bed maintenance or the cost of ventilators at approximately MX$750,000 (US$31,820).
Besides staying at home, recommendations for diabetes, overweight or obesity patients include doing physical activity at least 30 minutes a day and staying hydrated, as infections raise glucose levels and the need for fluid intake. Patients are also urged to decrease consumption of simple carbohydrates such as biscuits, potatoes, sweet bread or cereals, as well as foods that reduce oxygen levels in the body. Lastly, recommendations include constant intake of Vitamin C and zinc to boost the immune system.