Mexico’s death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is poised to overtake Italy’s and shoot above 35,000 on Sunday, with the Latin American nation set to post the world’s fourth highest deaths total, according to Reuters data.
Mexico on Saturday recorded 539 additional fatalities to bring its coronavirus toll to 34,730, with 295,268 confirmed cases. Italy has recorded 34,945 deaths and 242,827 cases.
While Italy appears to have tamed the virus, the pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down in Mexico, where the government has faced criticism for reopening its economy too soon.
Mexican authorities have gradually raised the projections of total fatalities and as recently as June forecast up to 35,000 deaths through October. In early May, the estimate was 6,000.
The coronavirus death toll per million residents in Mexico, whose population numbers about 120 million, is the 16th highest in the world, according to data by research firm Statista.
But Mexican officials say the true toll is likely much higher due to limited testing. A Reuters analysis of funeral homes data in May indicated a toll more than double the reported figures.
Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico’s deputy health minister and coronavirus czar, this week said the virus was “slowing down”.
But several former officials have criticised President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s administration for its handling of the epidemic.
Former health minister Salomon Chertorivski earlier this week said the government had reopened the economy before globally-established criteria for doing so were met.
“There are three fundamental variables: a reduction in the last 14 days in the numbers of contagions, reduction in recent days in the number of deaths, and reduction in the number of hospitalized people,” Chertorivski told Mexican newspaper Reforma.
“None of those three parameters were achieved.”