W.Rufino Pacheco’s chicken arrived at the hospital, his breath limp and his legs twisted, and a doctor placed papers on his wife’s daughter, asking her for her approval to put him on a ventilator. But the elderly patient refused.
Less than 12 hours later, Pacheco died, plugged into an oxygen tank in his bedroom, while his wife cried, “Don’t leave me, old man.” Days later, she, too, fell ill from Covid-19, along with her adult son.
“There was a lot of stress and anxiety,” said Consuelo Vásquez of the time she spent caring for her mother and brother after her father’s departure. “We thought we’d be going through the same thing.”
All of them needed extra oxygen at times, and only after they recovered can the family begin grieving Pacheco.
Not tested for Covid-19 virus and soon his body was cremated, Pacheco, who died on November 24 in working-class city Ikatepec, may not appear as one of the deaths increasing across parts of Mexico – especially the capital and its environs – in the worst outbreak since the height of summer.
For weeks, Mexican officials pleaded with them to stay home. Even the president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Whose public data The severity of an outbreak in Mexico has been rarely acknowledgedIn the month began to urge Mexicans to forgo holiday parties that run from December to January. But he refused to impose restrictions, Declaring that Mexicans were “responsible, well-mannered and conscientious.”
The president’s soft touch highlighted the fundamental inconsistency in his government’s approach to the coronavirus. Keeping bars, cinemas and malls open steadily undermines the message that people should only go out for the most important activities.
He also said that many Mexicans cannot stop working. Instead of helping people to allow them to stay in their homes, the left-wing president insisted Adhering to the austerity that prevailed in his two-year presidency. His government has proposed the least stimulus program to bypass millions of the newly unemployed.
The result was devastating. Nearly 120,000 Mexicans have died from Covid-19, although health experts at the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico, known as Unam, Appreciation That number is anywhere from two to four times. Even the declared figure makes Mexico one of the worlds Deadliest Epidemic countries based on their population size.
But the government’s approach hasn’t changed much, even as cases – and deaths – began to spike in November.
Finally, officials bowed to reality and on Saturday closed most non-essential activities in Mexico City and the surrounding state of Mexico, home to vast working-class suburbs that were among the areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.
Dr Hugo Lopez Gatel, the deputy health minister responsible for the government’s efforts, acknowledged that the momentum of the pandemic required “exceptional measures”.
Exhausted doctors and nurses on the ground knew for weeks how bleak the picture was.
“We have failed to stop the infection with this second wave,” said Dr. Pelin Jacinto, a critical care specialist at La Raza General Hospital in Mexico City.
Everywhere you turn, there is a deficiency. There is only one critical care physician on duty per shift to manage 15 patients in her ICU, assisted by other physicians in other specialties.
There are not enough staff to turn ventilated patients over their stomachs as the protocol recommends and monitor them to ensure breathing tubes remain in place.
“I told my manager that the patients who were intubated were almost doomed,” she said. What service do we provide?
The government hired new doctors, bought ventilators, and increased the number of intensive care beds since the pandemic began. But this is not enough. “You cannot increase capabilities overnight,” said Dr. Alejandro Macias, who handled the government’s response Swine flu epidemic in 2009. “All these extra beds didn’t necessarily improve their appearance.”
Critics of Lopez Obrador’s populist government argue that the handling of the pandemic was misleading from the start. “The Mexican government has declared that testing is a waste of resources,” said Dr. Julio Frenk, a former health minister who is now president of the University of Miami. Mexico has one of the lowest test rates of any country in the world.
“The policy was to have enough beds,” he said. “The policy objective should be to control the transmission.”
Macias said part of the test responsibility lies with the states of Mexico, and they have also failed to ramp up testing. The exception is Mexico City, where Mayor Claudia Shinbaum offered large-scale free tests.
Dr Samuel Ponce de Leon, UNAM’s Covid Response Cluster Coordinator, said the government’s attempt Striking a balance between allowing people to work and stopping the spread of infection. “More than half of the population belongs to the informal economy,” he said. “They have to travel and go to work to get money for food the next day.”
Given this reality, he said, it was difficult to understand the government’s inconsistency in communicating basic measures to protect against the coronavirus – starting with Lopez Obrador’s refusal to lead by example by wearing a face mask.
“Social distancing is an impossible dream,” said Ponce de Leon, referring to the crowded public transport in Mexico City. “But we can reduce the use of face masks and hygiene.”
And Lopez Obrador’s insistence on maintaining austerity measures throughout the pandemic has also surprised many.
The International Monetary Fund– Not a fan of unbridled public spending – he recently called on the left-wing government in Mexico to increase its support for families and businesses ravaged by the deep recession caused by the epidemic.
Noting that Mexico has allocated just 0.7% of GDP in an additional health and social spending budget to tackle the pandemic, the fund said Mexico should increase this amount to 2.5% to 3.5% of the country’s production, and make healthcare a top priority.
For decades, Mexico has been under spending on public health, lagging behind comparable economies such as Colombia and Brazil. Many had hoped that Lopez Obrador would change that when he took office, promising to make helping the poor the focus of his policies.
“Covid has hit us at a very bad time,” Mariana Campos, a public spending expert at México Evalúa, a think tank, said instead. Lopez Obrador’s government slashed the health budget in 2019, the third year in a row of cuts. “We have the structural problems that we always face, and they have worsened since 2017.”
When the capital’s hustle and bustle began to subside and the government turned its attention to the arrival of the first vaccinations, Macias said the country was only halfway through its battle.
He said, “If it was a football match, we would have been in the 45th minute.” He said viruses spread faster in winter and “I expect more patients.”