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Yucatan among states sharing least information about COVID-19, report says

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Statues throughout the Benito Juarez district of Mexico City this week were adorned with protective face masks, as police trucks circulated playing a recorded message calling for anyone who leaves the house to wear one. Photo: AP / Rebecca Blackwell

Yucatan and three other Mexican states do not publish COVID-19 infection information at the municipal level. That means the public can’t tell where the latest infections are taking place, unless a local official makes an announcement.

This opaqueness is why three in 10 people cannot access specific information about the coronavirus spread where they live because these states don’t publish local-level data about infections.

In today’s Diario de Yucatan, the Quinto Elemento Lab report also implicated México State, Querétaro and Tlaxcala over the lack of data, and noted that Mexico City is also not providing statistics for the capital’s 16 boroughs.

Nearly 30% of Mexico’s population live where officials are not disclosing municipal-level statistics.

Health authorities in Yucatan, which QEL ranks fifth lowest in transparency, did not comment on why they decided to omit information at the local level, but other governments said they were concerned with privacy as well as incidents of discrimination and panic.

Querétaro Health Services Director Martina Pérez Rendón said his government was also concerned with acts of aggression against infected people and their families.

A health official in Mexico City, which has more than 1,500 confirmed cases, said the data would be misleading since patients travel from other states to be treated there.

The Guanajuato government, on the other hand, is very transparent, having reported both confirmed and suspected Covid-19 cases in each of the state’s 46 municipalities. The state’s Health Ministry said that well-informed residents have offered financial support to hospitals in the affected municipalities.

Officials in Aguascalientes and Veracruz also share location-specific information, saying that the data allows people to be better armed to protect themselves against infection.

The federal Health Ministry has not issued guidelines about what data should be published by each state.

The Health Ministry’s general director of health promotion has suggested that people wouldn’t take the pandemic seriously if they knew that their local area wasn’t overly affected.

“If half of the deaths are in Tingüindín, Michoacán, people in Mexico City will say: ‘I’m not in Tingüindín, my risk is lower,” Ricardo Cortés said in late March.

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