Third COVID-19 Wave Presents Challenges for Schools, WorkplacesBy Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Fri, 07/09/2021 - 16:37
On Tuesday, Deputy Minister of Health, Hugo López-Gatell, announced that Mexico is entering a third COVID-19 wave; indicated by a 22 percent increase of cases in comparison to the previous week. In spite of this, hospitalization rates have remained steadily between 15-20 percent. He attributes this favorable result to ongoing vaccination efforts that are now open to people between the ages of 18 and 29. He added that a total of 33 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, accounting for 37 percent of the adult population.
Since December 2020, the country has received 60 million of the 234 million doses it had secured through various contracts with international groups and direct agreements with pharmaceutical companies: AstraZeneca, CanSino Biologics, Covax, Pfizer BioNTech, Sinovac and the Gamaleya National Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology.
However, the emergence of the Delta variant might set those efforts back. The Delta variant is twice as contagious and twice as likely to put its host in the hospital, according to a report by Public Health of England (PHE) published last month. The follow-up question is whether these vaccines will stand up to the new variant, projected to become the dominant strain. PHE also indicated that only two vaccines, AstraZeneca and Pfizer’s, had demonstrated robust protection against the new variant.
This update follows Sunday’s announced vaccination strategy for the northern border meant to accelerate the country’s reopening, which would send 1 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to expedite the reopening of businesses in the region. Mexico’s northern border accounts for almost 27 percent of the national economy according to the Trimester Indicator of State Economic Activity (ITAEE).
In light of this, the federal government has overwhelming urgency to fast-track vaccination efforts in its most remunerative geographic sector. Especially after the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) reported at the beginning of the year that the pandemic-hit economy had shrunk by almost 9 percent, a phenomenon that has not occurred in almost 90 years.
On a different front, some states throughout Mexico had announced earlier in the year that schools would reopen in the fall. These statements, however, came before the arrival and proliferation of the Delta variant. Since it was first identified in India last December, researchers have been scrambling to understand it. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, clinical trials are currently underway in children as young as six months, but for the time being it seems as it previous plans to reopen will have to be reconsidered for the safety of the children and their families.
Ultimately, the emergence of a third COVID-19 wave with the more contagious Delta variant appears to present disruptions in Mexico’s reopening efforts at the border and domestically. New research found that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is 66.9 percent effective, demonstrated strong resistance towards the new strain. This news suggests an increased probability of a successful northern border reopening. On the other hand, until children are able to get vaccinated states may have to reconsider reopening schools so as to prevent a future outbreak.
If you are an adult 18 and over you can now get a vaccination appointment here: https://mivacuna.salud.gob.mx