Mexico reported the third highest coronavirus mortality rate in the world on Saturday, trailing the United States and Brazil with 46,688 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University.
Health officials warned that the 424,637 cases reported by the country – making them sixth globally – are not an accurate account of the coronavirus situation, due to the lack of testing and underestimation of the virus.
Mexican health secretary Hugo López-Gatell reportedly downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and opted for lighter tactics and less popular tests. Ten state governors applied for resignations on Friday, according to the BBC.
Lopez-Gatell reportedly blamed the complexity of the tests as a justification for the lack of confirmed cases.
In response to the claims of the Secretary of Health, a group of experts, Mexicans against corruption and impunity (MACCIH), launched an investigation into the number of death certificates against the number of deaths reported by coronavirus.
They found that between March 18 and May 12, the number of coronavirus deaths reported was three times less than the number of suspected coronavirus-related deaths in Mexico City alone.
The investigation found that in over 3,000 documents of deceased people, COVID-19 was listed as the “probable” probable “possible” or “suspected” cause of death, which means that the number of reported coronavirus cases and deaths it could be three times the number of confirmed cases.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has also faced criticism for his initial reckless stance on the coronavirus pandemic.
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The government has been slow to decentralize test sites, preventing companies and private states from providing their own tests. Thousands of new cases have appeared in private medical centers, which are not reported in the federal system, according to a Reuters report in mid-June.
Obrador joined the list of leaders who refused to wear a mask – including Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who turned out to be positive for COVID-19 – and President Trump, although the President of the United States has publicly started wear a mask and encourage the use of masks in July.
“Do you know when I am going to wear a mask? When there is no corruption. Then I will wear a mask and stop talking,” the Guardian Obrador told reporters on Friday.
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Coronavirus cases worldwide have reached nearly 17.7 million with nearly 700,000 deaths.
The United States reported most cases to the world, with 4.6 million and 154,000 deaths. Brazil has the second highest number of cases, with 2.6 million and over 92,000 deaths.