While in some parts of the United States, Omicron infections are declining, Yucatán is seeing its worst surge yet.
New coronavirus infections began to rise on Christmas week, when 108 new cases were registered. Compare that to this week, when 5,425 new cases were registered by Yucatán health officials, and that’s only the infections that authorities know about.
That breaks down to 775 new patients a day, compared to last summer when 300 cases would seem high.
Deaths are starting to rise as well. An average of five fatalities a day were reported, compared to one a day at the beginning of the current surge.
Victims are trending younger and other illnesses like obesity and hypertension appear less relevant with the Omicron variant. Five out of six fatalities on Saturday — including a 28-year-old Mérida man — had no comorbidities.
Most patients — 8,154 as of Saturday — are presenting mild enough symptoms to avoid hospitalization, but even those numbers are rising. An additional 73 patients were admitted to public hospitals this week for a total of 171. Private-hospital statistics are not published.
If Yucatán were to follow infection trends in the United States, there is reason for hope.
Starting with a handful of eastern cities and spreading to much of the country, cases are down — to about 720,000 new cases a day, down from about 807,000 last week. New coronavirus-related hospital admissions have leveled off.
But experts insist that the general public needs to be vaccinated and masked to shorten this surge. One local doctor said that the typical surgical masks are inefficient.
Double- or triple-masking or the medical-grade KN95 masks were recommended by health authorities against the highly transmissible Omicron variant.