Mexico recorded its largest one-day increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday, and health officials said the country was at the “most difficult” time of the pandemic.
There were 2,409 new virus confirmations, the first time that number exceeded 2,000 in a day. In percentage terms, at 6%, it was not the largest percentage increase in a day.
“We are at the time of the fastest growing new cases,” said Assistant Secretary of Health Hugo Lopez-Gatell, calling it “peak time”.
“This is the most difficult time,” he added, although he also said there were “declining trends” in cities like Cancun, Villahermosa in the coastal state from the Gulf of Tabasco, Culiacan in the northern state of Sinaloa and the border town of Tijuana.
Authorities also reported 257 additional deaths from COVID-19, for a total of 4,477 since the start of the pandemic. The daily death toll was higher this week.
The increase in the number of cases came just four days before Monday’s partial reopening of key industries such as mining, construction and automotive assembly. Lopez-Gatell stressed that the reopening of these industries will be largely preparatory, with a wider restart of activities and other activities which will not take place until June 1.
There are signs that hospital capacity is approaching its limit in Mexico City, the area hardest hit. The health ministry said 73 percent of the capital’s general care hospital beds were full. The percentage was lower for intensive care beds, in part due to the expansion of improvised intensive care units in hospitals and other places.