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COVID explodes in Yucatán as new cases approach 300 in a single day

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Mérida teenagers between 15 and 17 were given a second dose of Pfizer vaccine on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy

In one week, Yucatán health officials detected 1,274 new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have nearly doubled.

Daily infections have risen steadily since Monday. Another 294 cases were reported on Saturday alone.

The actual number of new infections is unknown but certain to be many times higher.

Public hospitals admitted 12 new COVID patients on Saturday for a total of 66.

Most of the newest COVID patients are well enough to stay quarantined at home. There are 1,750 people confined to quarters, up 1,022 in seven days, state health department data reveals. Deaths average one each day.

Crowds on the Paseo de Montejo have thinned somewhat and hotels are reporting cancelations, but Yucatán remains under the permissive green light for the time being.

The daily numbers set Yucatán back to September levels when elements of a lockdown were still in place.

Before Christmas, daily infections were below 20, often in single digits. By the New Year, a widely predicted surge had begun.

Everywhere in Mexico where tourist dollars are important, COVID is showing significant upticks after a busy holiday season.

Baja California Sur reported the most cases since June. Cases in Mexico City spiked from 276 on Dec. 1 to 3,793 on Jan. 3. Quintana Roo is close to breaking its own daily case record as well.

Mexico has remained open to international visitors, even accepting U.S. cruise ships with coronavirus cases onboard. On the whole, it has fared better than the United States against the wave the Omicron variant has fueled, although statistics appear to be trending in the wrong direction, the Washington Post reported.

By Thursday afternoon, Mexico reported 53 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week, compared with 1,121 new cases per 100,000 people in the United States. Over the course of the pandemic, the United States has had nearly 58.5 million cases, compared with 4 million in Mexico, which has a population about 40% as large.

Mexico, however, showed a 146 percent week-over-week rise in new cases, compared with 70 percent in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rates Mexico with a Level 3 warning, advising that travelers have a “high” risk of exposure to the coronavirus and should not visit unless fully vaccinated.

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