MEXICO (Times Media Mexico) – Renowned Mexican journalists have written several columns with one thing in common. It is impossible to know exactly, and in real-time, the confirmed cases of Covid-19.
In Mexico, the official data is built with delay because the authorities know about the illness once the patient has been diagnosed. Except that, to get there, they first ask you if you have traveled abroad, if the answer is yes, they ask you if you have shown any symptoms. If the answer is negative, they don’t test, they ask you to stay home. If the answer is yes, maybe they will test and then, if it is positive, the person enters the statistics.
It takes up to 14 days for a person who contracts the virus to exhibit symptoms, and therefore it is not until then, that the approximate date of infection will be known.
It is a fact, that in a pandemic scenario, trust is required in order to combat panic, for that, it is imperative to design public policies based on science and not in lucky charms.
In a study conducted on more than 70,000 patients by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, published by one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Of 72,314 reported cases, 62% were diagnosed based on diagnostic tests. 22% based on clinical symptoms, plus another 15% who were diagnosed with pneumonia by radiological imaging.
The remaining 1% were asymptomatic cases that tested positive in the laboratory. Incidentally, asymptomatic cases (according to another study also published in the same journal), can infect other people and contaminate objects. In fact, it is an important factor in the rapid spread of the virus. 81% of the cases had a mild to moderate clinical picture. In 14% of the cases, the clinical picture was severe, and in 5%, it was fatal.
These figures are important because, although they may vary in other populations, the sample size suggests that, in general terms, this is the clinical picture that infected people will present in general populations.
What changes substantially with age is the mortality rate. This was 2.3% if the entire sample of patients studied is considered. Still, it shot up to 14.8% in people over 80 years of age, while in people between 70 and 79 years of age, the mortality rate was 8%.
49% of the cases diagnosed as severe, died. Mortality increases by 10% if there is cardiovascular disease, 7% if there is diabetes, and 6% if there is high blood pressure, respiratory disease, or cancer.
In Mexico, due to the serious lack of equipment for doctors and nurses in the public health sector, the personnel are highly exposed to infection, and their overall mortality is higher (3.8% vs. 2.3%).
Although children and young people are less frequently ill (at least in this population), this does not mean that they are not infected. In fact, several deaths of minors have been reported. We could say that young people are less likely to have serious conditions, but they are not immune and can be an important source of infection.
Although the factor of contagion is relative to each country, dividing the number of cases today by those of yesterday and gives a factor, Mexico has had a week with a factor with an average of 1.2
As of Sunday, March 22, Mexico had confirmed 316 cases of COVID-19 with a growth factor of an average of 1.25. We will see if the trend is confirmed today Monday with the number of 395 infected.
In the meantime, all that remains is to be objective and to follow international care protocols against this pandemic.
At present, in the here and now, many Mexicans do not know if the numbers presented by the government are the real ones or not. What we do know is that Mexico is facing not only COVID-19 but also measles and that our health workers are the true unsung heroes, yet it’s the politicians who try to take credit for what so far, has been done well.
Maybe in other countries, it’s different. Yet, in Mexico, -who writes- doesn’t know of a single politician who has saved a single-life or put his or her integrity on the line to save someone.
José E. Urioste Palomeque
For San Miguel Times
March 23, 2020
Mérida Yucatán, México.