Mexico’s coronavirus fatalities keep increasing, while the government refuses to conduct mass testing
06/18/2020 // Arsenio Toledo // Views

Mexico's fatalities to the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) keep surging, and the government is adamant on refusing to institute a mass testing program. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has faced criticism both for downplaying the severity of the pandemic and for his insistence that mass testing would only be a waste of money and resources.

As of press time, Mexico has 159,793 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 19,080 deaths. The government has also indicated that the actual number of infected people in the country is likely significantly higher.

Listen to this episode of the Health Ranger Report, a podcast by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, as he talks about how doctors and hospitals are deliberately murdering patients with COVID-19.

Lack of testing obscures Mexico's actual COVID-19 figures

Deputy Minister of Health, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, Mexico's “coronavirus czar” has continuously held that a lighter testing regime developed based on a model created over a decade ago, known as the “Sentinel model,” can efficiently allocate resources better than mass testing.

The Sentinel model was established in 2006 as a way of tracking flu-like diseases, allowing the country to make outbreak projections and to target their testing initiatives accordingly.

This program has helped Mexico maintain a small testing ratio. For every 1.77 tests administered, they are able to confirm one new case of COVID-19, compared to one new case for every 19.28 tests in the United States.

However, the Sentinel model has serious limitations, and it isn't properly equipped to deal with the widespread impact of COVID-19. But Lopez-Gatell has continued to argue that exhaustive mapping of the virus' spread was unrealistic.


Instead, the coronavirus czar has focused on preserving the country's medical resources, only using it on the most needy and encouraging the wider public to self-isolate and practice social distancing. While this may have helped Mexican hospitals from being flooded with coronavirus patients, some of the government's critics say that this has also prevented people with COVID-19 from being able to get help until it was too late for them.

Furthermore, according to Daniel Diaz, the minister of health for the opposition-controlled state of Guanajuato, the Sentinel model also overlooks the ability of asymptomatic individuals to spread the disease. Asymptomatic carriers make up one out of every five COVID-19 cases in his state.

Even President Obrador has backtracked on his earlier stance that mass testing was not necessary, saying that he was open to expand testing and washing his hands of any responsibility for Mexico's current predicament. (Related: Latin America the new epicenter of coronavirus pandemic.)

“All the management of the process to tackle the pandemic was in their hands,” said Obrador, referring to Lopez-Gatell and Minister of Health Jorge Alcocer.

“They're the ones who have drawn up all the steps. We've moved in accordance with their recommendations.”

Obrador faces opposition over coronavirus policy

According to research group Our World in Data, Mexico has one of the world's lowest rates of coronavirus testing. Lopez-Gatell's refusal to conduct mass testing is being challenged by politicians from within the ruling party, the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA). One of the people leading the drive for mass testing is Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum.

Mexico City, a city of over nine million people, pledged to test 100,000 people per month by July. If this pushed through, then approximately one in every 14 residents will get tested for the coronavirus by the end of the year.

To put this into perspective, Mexico, a country of over 125 million people, has only administered around 370,000 COVID-19 tests since the beginning of the outbreak, or around one test for every 335 inhabitants.

Mexico City recently experienced a 124 percent surge in COVID-19 fatalities. The city alone has confirmed more than 32,000 infections and over 3,200 deaths. Due to the government's insistence on limiting testing, the reported infections and mortalities are considered under-counted.

Sheinbaum rolled out the city's mass testing initiative as a way to detect and isolate people with COVID-19. This, she argues, is the centerpiece of Mexico City's plan to reopen its economy.

In a sudden shift, Lopez-Gatell praised Mexico City's plan as “extremely relevant,” despite the fact that there remains no federal plan to adopt a similar mass testing measure and his personal insistence that large-scale testing isn't necessary.

Obrador and Lopez-Gatell are also experiencing backlash from opposition groups in Mexico. The two northern states of Nuevo Leon and Coahuila, for example, conducted 40,000 COVID-19 tests and confirmed around 3,000 cases thanks to aid the former received from South Korean automaker Kia, which has a production facility in the state's capital of Monterrey.

If Obrador and Lopez-Gatell do not change their plans and conduct mass testing on their population, more politicians like Sheinbaum may roll out their own anti-coronavirus initiatives, and states like Nuevo Leon may receive aid from other sources.

Stay updated on the worldwide progression of the coronavirus at

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