MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s government acknowledged on Saturday that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic now stands above 321,000, almost 60 per cent more than the official test-confirmed number of 201,429.
Mexico does little testing, and because hospitals were overwhelmed, many Mexicans died at home without getting a test. The only way to get a clear picture is to review “excess deaths” and review death certificates.
The government quietly published such a report, which found there were 294,287 deaths linked to COVID-19 from the start of the pandemic through February 14. Since February 15 there have been an additional 26,772 test-confirmed deaths.
The higher toll would rival that of Brazil, which currently has the world’s second-highest number of deaths after the United States.
But Mexico’s population of 126 million is far smaller than either of those countries.
The new report also confirms just how deadly Mexico’s second wave in January was.
As of the end of December, excess death estimates suggested a total of about 220,000 deaths related to COVID-19 in Mexico. That number jumped by around 75,000 in just a month and a half.
Also suggestive were the overall number of “excess deaths” since the pandemic began, around 417,000. Excess deaths are determined by comparing the deaths in a given year to those that would be expected based on data from previous years.
A review of death certificates found about 70.5 per cent of the excess deaths were COVID-19 related, often because it was listed on the certificates as a suspected or contributing cause of death.