60K have died from coronavirus in Mexico, but signs of relief are starting to appear – National


Standing in a cemetery on the outskirts of Mexico City, dressed in a cowboy hat to cover his rugged features from the sun, guitarist Eberardo Vargas has had fewer funerals to play this week than during most of the coronavirus pandemic.Even as Mexico approaches another grim step in its battle against the pandemic – 60,000 dead – signs of relief are starting to appear in the country which has recorded more deaths than any other bar than the United States and Brazil.

Vargas, 49, said May, June and July were the busiest months he could remember as a musician as mourners in the municipality of Ecatepec in northeast Mexico City paid for him , him and his group, to listen to the favorite songs of their lost loved ones during their last farewells.

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But that demand has eased in recent times as public life gradually returns to normal in Mexico’s sprawling capital, prompting the government to declare this week that the coronavirus scourge is in “sustained decline” in Mexico.

“We sometimes had 10 or 15 performances a day at the height of the pandemic, but it came down,” said Vargas, who didn’t have much to do at Ecatepec cemetery for much of Friday. . “Now it’s more like three, or sometimes five.”

Coronavirus deaths are on track to hit their lowest weekly total in two months, and new cases have eased since reaching a record daily number in early August.

“Our whole group was waiting here, there was always work,” Vargas said. “Now we take turns because it’s become so quiet.”

Coronavirus outbreak: New Mexico mayor defies stay-at-home orders

Coronavirus outbreak: New Mexico mayor defies stay-at-home orders

However, the country is almost certain to cross the threshold of 60,000 dead this weekend. Earlier in the pandemic, the Mexican coronavirus czar and Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell called the figure a “catastrophic” result.

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Despite the improving news, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said on Friday there was no reason to be complacent.

“This week we have lost some momentum in the downward trend in the number of infections and hospitalizations,” she said.

Under estimation

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While Lopez-Gatell said his “catastrophic” remarks were taken out of context and praised the handling of the crisis in Mexico, analysts offer a more critical assessment of the country where testing for the virus has been among the most critical. lower in the world.

Focusing on the sickest patients, Mexico recorded a much higher proportion of people infected with testing than most countries – nearly one in two.

“The scale of the pandemic is clearly underestimated,” Mike Ryan, a senior official with the World Health Organization, said at a press conference in Geneva on Friday.

Closure of the US-Mexico border to all non-essential travel

US-Mexico border closed to all non-essential travel

It is a deep concern that Mexico could be vulnerable to a resurgence of the virus as it increasingly reopens the economy to support battered livelihoods.

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This week, poor Ecatepec was among municipalities to ease some restrictions on the pandemic as they tried to recover from the blow that slashed more than 17% of Mexico’s gross domestic product in the second quarter.

At the cemetery, a boy washed his face mask in rainwater collected for flower arrangements, while wild dogs, their ribs protruding from hunger, scoured the garbage for food.

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Maria de Jesus, a seller of chips and hot sauce at the entrance, thought the funeral service bump was over.

At the height of the pandemic, families were given half-hour slots to host up to 14 funerals per day, said Diana Angelica Almazan Avila, a local official. Since then, there have been four days without an official death in the municipality.

“It was such a surprise,” she says. “We couldn’t believe it when there wasn’t a single death.


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