Asked Friday about a threat from opposition politicians to seek an injunction requiring him to wear a mask, Amlo said, “Let’s make this deal. So let’s hurry and put an end to the corruption so that I put a mask on and stop talking.
Given the extent to which corruption is ingrained in Mexican politics, business and daily life, some Mexicans have interpreted the president’s response to mean that he will never willingly wear a mask. (Amlo seemed to have forgotten that last November he claimed that “corruption and official banditry” had already been defeated in the country.)
Since the first cases of the coronavirus were detected in Mexico, Amlo has regularly confused public health advice with petty politics and has used her daily morning press conferences to troll opponents as well as to educate the country.
He offered homemade tips for avoiding the virus: lose weight, avoid junk food, and find spirituality – to name just three nuggets.
Other senior officials have also expressed doubts about wearing the mask. Hugo López-Gatell, the country’s verbose Covid-19 czar, offered complicated answers to seemingly straightforward questions about the effectiveness of using face masks.
As in Brazil and the United States, wearing a mask has taken on cultural and political connotations in Mexico – where opinions about Amlo are deeply polarized.
“The face mask has been politicized here in the same way as in the United States and the United Kingdom, among other countries,” said Rodolfo Soriano-Núñez, sociologist in Mexico City.
Soriano-Núñez said that while in the United States refusing to wear masks is seen as a way to provoke liberals, in Mexico it is seen as a way to “own the posh crowd” as Amlo describes his opponents. .
As of Thursday, the death toll from Covid-19 in Mexico exceeded 46,000. This grim record has lifted the UK to third place on the list of countries with the worst deaths.