February deaths and new coronavirus cases higher than expected

After a post-holiday peak in coronavirus cases, Yucatán was supposed to see a huge drop in infections and deaths by now.

But so far, we’re doing worse than we were at beginning of January, before the post-Christmas and New Year’s infections were detected, data from the state health ministry indicates. This week alone, daily infections climbed from 60 on Monday to 113 on Thursday. That’s discouraging when compared to early January’s average daily cases, which ranged between 74 and 92.

February is not yet over but it is already the fourth most lethal month since the pandemic reached Yucatán in March 2020. Deaths have averaged nearly 12 a day, compared with eight in January. Only July, August and September saw more fatalities from COVID-19.

Since the Yucatán health ministry began counting, 32,306 coronavirus infections and 3,439 deaths have occurred in the state, which is certainly a huge undercount considering the region’s limited testing capacity.

Some 70% of fatalities were 60 and over, a sector that began to be vaccinated Feb. 15.

Most deaths — 987 in all — occurred in the 60 to 69 age range.

Other fatalities by age group: 70 to 79 (931); 80 and 89 (432); and 90 and 99 (55).

Among younger groups, seven children from infancy to nine years old also died; seven were between 10 and 19; 25 fatalities were between 20 and 29; 114 were between 30 and 39; 263 were between 40 and 49 years; and 603 were between 50 and 59 years.

On April 3 the first two deaths from COVID-19 were registered in Yucatán. That month ended with 35 deaths. In May the total was 173; in June, 253; in July, 700; in August, which is the deadliest month so far, there were 836; in September, 306; in October, 216; in November, 174; in December, 210; and in January, 253.

Daily average deaths in April amounted to 1.3 people; in May, 5.6; in June, 8.4; July, 22.6; August, 27; September, 10.2; October, 7; November, 5.8; December, 6.8.

In January there were 8.2 deaths per day on average, and as of Thursday, February has averaged nearly 12 deaths per day.

The struggle contrasts with receding infection rates in other countries, and across Mexico.

Over the past two weeks, the number of coronavirus cases rose by 51,100 but the spread of infection has been steadily declining nationally since the end of January, a health ministry epidemiologist said.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Mexico reached over 2.26 million, including 877 added Thursday. The total number of deaths has reached 183,692.

Mexico has administered over 2 million doses of coronavirus vaccine since late December, aimed for now at front-line medical workers and the elderly. To date, 526,400 health care workers in Mexico have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Mexico City on Wednesday began inoculating the elderly population with Russia’s Sputnik V, which first arrived in the country on Monday.

Lee Steele

Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012.