MEXICO CITY – Deaths in Mexico from the coronavirus pandemic rose to more than 35,000 on Sunday, with the Latin American country overtaking Italy by the fourth highest total deaths in the world, according to Reuters data.
But leftist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Sunday that the pandemic was “losing intensity” in Mexico, blaming what he called “conservative media” for causing alarm.
Mexico recorded an additional 276 deaths and 4,482 new infections on Sunday to bring its number of coronavirus deaths to 35,006, with 299,750 confirmed cases. Italy has registered 34,954 deaths and 243,061 cases. Mexico follows the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom in total deaths.
While Italy appears to have tamed the virus, the pandemic shows few signs of relief in Mexico, where the government has faced criticism for reopening its economy too soon.
López Obrador said he was informed of the pandemic last week and was optimistic.
“The report is positive, well. The conclusion is that the pandemic is decreasing, that it is losing intensity, ”he said in a video message.
López Obrador also supported Hugo López-Gatell, deputy minister of health of Mexico and tsar of the coronavirus, after criticism for his handling of the crisis.
López-Gatell has continued to review his projections for total deaths and, in June, forecast up to 35,000 deaths through October. In early May, the estimate was 6,000.
The death toll from coronavirus per million residents in Mexico, with a population of about 120 million, is the 16th highest in the world, according to data from research firm Statista.
But Mexican authorities say the actual number is likely much higher due to limited evidence. A Reuters analysis of funeral home data in May indicated a death toll that doubled the reported numbers.
Several former officials have criticized the López Obrador administration for its management of the epidemic.
Former Health Minister Salomon Chertorivski, who held the post from 2011 to 2012, said Thursday that the government had reopened the economy before meeting globally established criteria for doing so. He added that Mexico may need to impose a new blockade.
“There are three fundamental variables: a reduction in the last 14 days in the number of infections, a reduction in the last days in the number of deaths and a reduction in the number of people hospitalized,” Chertorivski told the Mexican newspaper Reforma.
“None of those three parameters was achieved.”
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